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March 6, 2013

City to build pedestrian crossing on Clinton River Trail

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — A pedestrian crossing on Dequindre at the Clinton River Trail will be constructed this fall, thanks to a couple of grants.

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently awarded the city of Rochester a $99,970 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for the project, which was also recently approved for $93,780 in funding through the Road Commission for Oakland County’s Tri-Party Road Improvement Program.

In recent years, the Tri-Party program has had an annual budget of $3 million, based on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ willingness to contribute $1 million. However, due to the poor economy, officials said, in the last several years, some communities have not been able to utilize their share of Tri-Party dollars because they could not provide the local share, resulting in the one-time surplus of $2.9 million in unused funds.

“Sometime back, we noticed — at the commission — that there were a lot of municipalities around the county that could not put their own share of funds toward a project, so therefore, the matching funds from the Road Commission were not being used. This resulted in a very large and growing fund balance. After some consideration, we decided that, rather than just have this money sit there unused, we would open it up to other municipalities around the county who did have the resources and the ability to use the funds,” said Oakland County Commissioner Jeff Matis.

Under the Tri-Party Road Improvement Program — which is designed to improve county roads — the Oakland County general government, the Road Commission for Oakland County, and the community that applied for the funds, are all required to pay one-third of an approved project. jCity officials say the area, which is behind the Onyx Ice Arena, south of Parkdale Road, is dangerous for pedestrians to cross.

“That is a difficult road to cross, so (the crossing) is needed for bikers and pedestrians,” Mayor Stuart Bikson explained.

The total project is expected to cost more than $193,000, but thanks to both grants, and Shelby Township agreeing to fund half of the local match portion of the project, the city of Rochester — and Shelby Township — will pay each $15,543. The crossing will be constructed this fall.

If the city had not received the grants, City Manager Jaymes Vettraino said the project would have likely been done in 2014 or 2015.

“I guess the moral of the story is it’s always good to have some cash in the bank,” Bikson added.

For more information, contact the Road Commission at (248) 858-4804.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.