Macomb Township trustees listen to Department of Public Works Director Kevin Johnson as he discusses the five-year water and sewer capital improvement plan at the board’s Feb. 28 meeting.

Macomb Township trustees listen to Department of Public Works Director Kevin Johnson as he discusses the five-year water and sewer capital improvement plan at the board’s Feb. 28 meeting.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

Underground improvement plan approved by Macomb Twp. board

More studies approved for Broughton extension

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published March 5, 2024


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It is not pretty nor cool nor flashy, but underground pipes are necessary. The Macomb Township Board of Trustees took steps toward ensuring the township’s water and sewer infrastructure remains in order by approving a five-year $53 million capital improvement plan at its Feb. 28 meeting.

An annual report from the township’s Department of Public Works, the plan outlines expected maintenance and projects to be undertaken in the next five years.

“The major projects we’re focusing on this year will be the Pump Station No. 1 replacement, which is the sewer pump station on Hall Road and Gratiot, the MA-01 meter pit project at Romeo Plank and 24 (Mile Road) where we’re bringing that above ground, the first phase of the Plum Grove Village water main project and the Romeo Plank water main project between 22 and 23 Mile (roads),” said Kevin Johnson, the township’s DPW director. “Some additions we made this year … are that we’re looking to rehab the emergency connections we have with Clinton Township due to some emergency planning with Great Lakes Water Authority, so we need to update those, as well as adding the DPW roof as it needs replacement because it started leaking last year because of some severe storms.”

The project cost of all expected water and sewer work in the 2024-2025 fiscal year is just over $14.6 million. The next two fiscal years will have lower maintenance costs with 2026-2027’s work expected to go down to around $6.6 million until work in the 2027-2029 years brings work cost back up. Despite the high costs of upgrading and replacing infrastructure, Johnson told trustees this is all done to keep the water and sewer system manageable in the long run.

“Keep in mind these projects are necessary to provide continuous satisfactory service for both water and sewer services to the residents,” Johnson said. “We try to stay within the five-year (capital improvement plan) to make sure we’re on target and staying on budget with everything we’ve done in the past. A lot of these projects do shift sometimes due to material delays, permitting issues or weather, but we try to make sure we stay on task as best as we can given those circumstances.”


More Broughton Road studies
Additional funds were added to the Broughton Road expansion project with the cost of traffic studies being increased to $100,500. The Macomb County Department of Roads requested the township order studies into how extending Broughton Road as a boulevard-style street would affect the flow of traffic to neighboring roads, with those initial studies costing $28,000 back in January. A grant from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will cover $23,750 of the project, putting the township’s costs at $76,750.

This is the second increase in studies into the Broughton Road expansion, leading to questions from trustees about whether the number of studies into the road project is getting excessive and becoming a burden on the budget. Officials from the township’s engineering and planning departments responded that this project involves more studies than usual, but that the number of studies for the project was not unexpected.

“We’re asking for something that is different from what the county normally approved; a two-lane road versus a boulevard that’s in a downtown area,” said James Van Tiflin, the township’s land development director. “They’re completely different roads.”

Township Supervisor Frank Viviano supported Van Tiflin’s assessment, reiterating the project’s uniqueness as the reason for the county’s concern.

“The intention of this project from the get-go was to build something in Macomb Township that was unique to all other places in Macomb County,” Viviano said. “We’re pushing (the county roads department) out of their comfort zone, and they are being extra cautious in the information they are requiring to make sure we are not, I guess, infringing or impairing the traffic flow, which is their main concern.”

Though the board supported the increase, the idea of reconsidering the project if study costs got too big was mentioned. Trustees went on to accept the $5 million and $100,000 in state funds for the Broughton Road and Garfield Road expansion projects, respectively. Those funds were allocated to the township by state Sen. Veronica Klinefelt, D-Eastpointe, in the state’s budget and required a procedural resolution from the board to accept.