Board to vote on Maple Road construction in April

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 30, 2015

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WEST BLOOMFIELD —  On March 23, the township Board of Trustees tabled a cost participation agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County to widen a stretch of Maple Road.


After a lengthy discussion, the board voted 4-2 to table the item until the board’s April 20 meeting. Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste and Trustee Steven Kaplan voted against the motion.


Under the cost participation agreement with the Road Commission, Maple Road would become a three-lane road from Orchard Lake Road to Haggerty Road. Construction between Drake and Haggerty roads would commence in 2016, and in 2017, the Road Commission would begin the strip from Orchard Lake Road to Drake Road, according to township Development Services Director Marshall Labadie.


Labadie explained to the board that the project would involve building a center turn lane through the entire Maple Road corridor. The construction would involve laying down 5 inches of new asphalt and repairing areas where collapses are foreseen, he added.


Though $3.3 million has been allocated to the project from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Program, it would cost the township at least $1 million to enter into the two-part agreement with the county. The estimated total cost of the project is $5.3 million.


Road Commission Public Information Officer Craig Bryson said in an interview that the estimated project cost is based on old numbers, and when the Road Commission completes a new cost estimate, the township’s portion could change. However, he said, the Road Commission would request federal funds before the township’s portion would increase.


Because Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s location on Maple Road has caused increased traffic and the hospital provides a significant service to the community, the hospital is willing to contribute $200,000 of the township’s at least $1 million cost, according to Lynn Torossian, president and CEO of Henry Ford West Bloomfield.


“We’re very supportive of this project,” Torossian said. “We have taken this all the way up through our executive ranks, and we are very willing to contribute $200,000 to the effort for this road constriction knowing that the township has other priorities as well as limited funds, and there is a significant benefit to our facility as well as the residents of the township.”


Though the item was placed on the March 23 agenda for the board to vote on, Trustee Howard Rosenberg said he was concerned because he did not know how the township was going to pay the at least $800,000.


“The problem the township has is that it doesn’t collect tax money to do the roads. … I completely agree that we need to fix Maple Road somehow, but we’re a township and not a city, and we don’t raise … taxes for that purpose,” Rosenberg said.


In addition, he said, the township is currently invested in other road projects with the Road Commission.


Including the construction of the two sections of Maple Road, Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy said, the township would have agreements with the Road Commission for five road projects.


“We’re not just looking at ($1 million) or $2 million. … We’re looking at $12 (million)-$15 million. We have some big projects we’re on the hook for. I haven’t seen a budget how we’re going to pay for this. I haven’t even seen the projects on a list and when they’re going to occur and how we’re going to — if we can — pay for them,” Shaughnessy said.


Based on 2011 prices, the board has $6 million invested in the boulevard project at Maple and Orchard Lake roads and $3 million invested in the Northwestern Connector project, Labbadie said.


Economou Ureste argued that the township has the funds to enter into an $800,000 contract to reconstruct Maple Road.


“(An) $800,000 general fund obligation we can afford — I’m confident of that — to get Maple Road done from Orchard Lake (Road) all the way to Haggerty (Road),” Economou Ureste said.


The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place April 20. To watch the March 23 meeting, visit www.civiccentertv.com.

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