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Garfield Road getting structural fix in 2019-20

Kelly Road work on horizon as well

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 28, 2019

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Drivers who travel on Garfield Road know it’s in dire need of physical improvements. The Clinton Township Board of Trustees just voted to kick-start that process.

On Jan. 14, the board voted 7-0 to approve a package of public road projects that have been negotiated throughout the past year by Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and staffers from the Macomb County Department of Roads and the Clinton Township Public Services Department.

Three projects were initiated in relation to underground water and sewer projects located within the right-of-way, of which the county will contribute approximately $305,000. Utility projects include a water main on South Nunneley Road and one on between Danbury Street and 15 Mile Road.

The cost share of the three 2019 road projects are as follows: Garfield Road, from Millar Road to Metropolitan Parkway, in a 50-50 split with the county, with the township contributing about $574,000; Garfield Road, from Hall Road to 19 Mile Road, utilizing about $3 million in federal money leftover from the county’s Mound Road project and the remaining amount (about 20 percent) split between the township and the county; and Kelly Road, between 15 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway, in a 50-25-25 split between the county, the township and the city of Fraser, respectively, costing the township about $600,000.

The township also entered into a funding commitment with the county for 2020, which would repair Garfield Road, from 19 Mile Road to 17 Mile Road. It is expected to be an 80-20 split, with federal funds paying the majority. The township and the county will split the other 20 percent, costing the township about $750,000.

In total, the 2019 Garfield Road projects will cost about $1.54 million from the township’s general fund, about $305,000 from the township’s water and sewer fund, and about $750,000 for the future Garfield contribution.

“It wasn’t on (the county’s) front burner,” Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said Jan. 14. “Anyone who has driven Garfield recently, and who will drive it after the winter season, knows that it’s in horrible condition.”

Trustee Ken Pearl said he wasn’t happy that money had to be taken out of the township’s general fund, but added, “I don’t think we have a choice.”

Treasurer Paul Gieleghem said he was concerned about “a lack of equity” moving forward, in terms of justifying how some residents pay out of pocket for local road repairs due to special assessment districts, or SADs.


Conditions bad, getting worse
The board’s decision came on the heels of learning that same evening that the township’s roads continue to crumble.

In November 2018, civil engineering firm Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc. conducted a pavement surface evaluation and rating, or PASER, study that was later accepted by local, state and federal agencies in relation to the management and planning of future capital improvement projects. The study was utilized by AEW due to a SEMCOG grant received by the township.

The evaluation, which was the first one conducted since 2008, looked at 203 miles of roads within the township. In the decade since the last evaluation, just 10 miles of roads were added.

Township Public Services Director Mary Bednar discussed the most recent study, which is available on the township’s website. She said the study went “above and beyond” what she imagined, comparing the present to the past.

In 2008, about 21.4 percent of roads were considered to be in “poor” condition. The “poor” roads are identified by scores between 1 and 3 on the PASER scale, with 10 representing the best possible condition.

About 48.1 percent of roads were in “fair” condition, or 4-5 on PASER; 23.9 percent of roads were considered “good,” ranked 6 or 7; and 6.5 percent were “very good,” identified by scores between 8 and 10.

In comparison, in 2018, 45.4 percent of roads were considered poor, 10 percent were considered fair, and just 4.4 percent were considered very good.

For perspective, 41.2 miles of roads in 2008 were poor, very poor or failed, while that number more than doubled in a decade, to 92.1 miles by 2018.

“You can see that in 10 years, our roads have definitely decreased in their conditions,” Bednar said.

SADs have revamped physically debilitated roads. For example, an SAD on Thornton Street and Tessens Drive bumped up the PASER rating from 3 to 10. Other SADs have produced similar rises on other private roads. Public roads are not township owned.

“Look at the rest of the neighborhood,” Bednar said. “In 2008, there was quite a few roads that were good and fair. Yet, in 2018, those same roads are now poor.”

She added that field engineers are unaware whether roads are 3 or 30 years old, as they don’t possess previous data. All they know is what they see in person. She compared poor roads to a home roof that needs a fix that is expensive yet necessary.

“The residents should really be able to see how bad the roads are,” Pearl said. “I hope we can get a millage going again. I also hope the state government can send some money our way to get some work done. … I hope with the new governor in place, she can convince the Legislature to let some money go our way to get this work done.

“This is a horrible condition that’s got to be to get corrected. It’s just gonna get worse. You can see in 10 years what’s happened.”