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Township, county hook up on road repairs

One subdivision receives second chance at rehabilitation

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 6, 2016


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — With aid from the Macomb County Department of Roads, Clinton Township will soon see a pair of vital road stretches either fixed or replaced.

Macomb County Department of Roads Director Bob Hoepfner was present at the township’s March 21 Board of Trustees meeting to discuss the two intended projects: replacing 19 Mile Road, between Hayes and Romeo Plank roads; and a 2-inch asphalt overlay on Cimarron, from 18 Mile Road north to Bayham, and then east to the entrance of Miami Elementary School.

“Nineteen Mile is in desperate need of resurfacing,” Hoepfner said. “If we take any more time, it’s just going to get worse.”

In two separate letters to the board, Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said many understand that roads are in dire need of repair or replacement.

“Although the state will increase funding for roads in 2021 in the amount of $1.2 billion, we cannot wait five years to address this issue in our community. … There is no guarantee that amount will be enough in five years when we finally see it put to work on road projects,” Cannon said in the letter.

Also, he told Hoepfner the township could not afford to pay $1.6 million, or half, of the $3.2 million that the county was seeking for 19 Mile. Rather, Cannon said he would bring the number of $334,316 — or 10 percent of the total cost — to the board for approval.

That one-time fee was agreed upon by the county and unanimously approved by the board.

Hoepfner said the county has 65 anticipated projects that cost more than $100 million, with only $45 million available in funding. The number of roadways far exceed funds available, he said, and the focus is on existing roads at this juncture.

Cannon said the township essentially paid 10 percent for Romeo Plank Road many years ago, due to federal dollars aiding in what would have been a 50-50 match between the township and county.

The 19 Mile project would include patched concrete and be paved with super concrete, using Macomb County clay with stone. The expected lifespan of the project, which is slated to start this summer, will be 10 to 15 years.

The second project discussed brought up old wounds for residents and officials.

In February 2015, the Department of Roads accepted blame for a gross estimation of the Smokler special assessment district, or SAD. The original $4.5 million estimation was intended to be split between the county and township residents, but due to county miscalculations, the original estimation shot up to $9.5 million — raising the average per-unit cost from $4,600 to $10,000.

The SAD, which went into effect after residents petitioned and obtained votes of approval from one another, died on the spot.

On March 21, the township and county agreed on a 50-50 financial split that would include the township paying a one-time installment of $97,250 — or half of the total $194,500.

Hoepfner called it a “bare-bones fix” that would be part of the summer project schedule. It should take one or two days to complete, he said.

“This isn’t a long-term fix, but I think it can get us through until we get a SAD,” he said.

Clerk Kim Meltzer said the project aids in the safety and welfare of children who walk along that specific road, as well as those who ride the bus down the crack-ridden way.

Trustee Paul Gieleghem said the county is now making up for its errors from last year.

Bob Campbell, who lives on Kentvale Drive near Bayham, said the Smokler repair is positive for the community and helps keep home values up.

He’s more optimistic about a future millage, though, saying “there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell” that the neighborhood would attain enough signatures for another SAD.

“This is a start,” Trustee Dean Reynolds said. “It’s not a complete fix, but it’s a start.”