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Grosse Pointe City gears up for 2019 road program

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 15, 2019

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Roadwork may still be months away from starting, but Grosse Pointe City officials are already preparing for 2019 construction.

This year, roads to be repaired include Maumee Avenue, between Fisher and Cadieux roads, except for the block in front of City Hall; Charlevoix Avenue, from Cadieux Road to Loraine Street; and Lincoln Road, from Jefferson Avenue to just north of Maumee Avenue. Some projects, including Lincoln, were rescheduled in conjunction with DTE Energy’s gas upgrade project, while other road projects have been rescheduled pending construction of a new Public Service building on City Hall property on Maumee.

The City Council unanimously approved the 2019 road program at a meeting Dec. 17. The cost of the work is estimated at $1,009,773, with about $855,000 coming from the City’s road millage and approximately $155,000 coming from state gas and sales taxes.

“I’m impressed with the road program that we have,” resident Dave Fries said. “Have we done all of the roads?”

“No, not even close,” City Manager Pete Dame responded.

From roughly 2006 until the special road millage was approved in 2014, Dame said, the City “didn’t have the money to do much of anything” roadwise, only repairing or replacing one or two blocks per year.

In August 2014, primary election voters in the City approved a new millage strictly for roadwork of up to 2.5 mills for up to 15 years, which officials in 2014 said would raise an additional $825,000 each year. The main focus of the millage was on the City’s local streets.

“Since voter approval (of the road millage), improvement has been constant,” Dame said.

City Engineer Stephen Pangori, of Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc., updated officials on the condition of the community’s roads during the Dec. 17 meeting.

The City has 1.745 miles of minor arterial streets — Kercheval Avenue and Cadieux Road — plus 1.838 miles in major collector streets — Waterloo Street and St. Clair Road — and these types of streets are eligible for federal aid, according to an AEW report. But the majority of roads in the City are classified as local streets, and these account for 14.84 miles, the report states.

Streets are evaluated on a scale of 1-10 using the PASER rating system, with “good” meaning a rating of 8-10, “fair” meaning a rating of 5-7, and “poor” meaning a rating of 1-4. The City’s local streets had an average PASER rating of 6.183 in 2018 — up from the average of 5.96 in 2017.

The latest road condition survey shows that the total miles of streets rated “good” decreased from 25 percent in 2017 to 24 percent in 2018. Streets rated “fair” increased, from 47 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2018. And streets in the “poor” category decreased from 28.4 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2018.

2018 marked the 13th year the City has done an annual evaluation of its road conditions.

“I commend the City Council for doing that,” Pangori said. “You’re able to catch any changes that occur within that year.”

In 2019, the City is going from a five-year rolling annual road improvement plan to a six-year plan, administrators said.

Because of a roadwork stoppage in 2018 and many major statewide road projects in 2019, Pangori recommended putting the City’s road projects out to bid early.

“What I would like to do is get this out to bid as soon as possible to lock down that bid (price),” he said.

As to especially rough portions of Goethe Avenue and Rivard Boulevard, which have PASER ratings of 2 — making them among the worst roads in the City — those are scheduled for work in 2020.