File photo by Deb Jacques

West Bloomfield approves road improvement project

Trail connection to be considered

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 15, 2018

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees voted 5-0, with Treasurer Teri Weingarden and Trustee Diane Rosenfeld Swimmer absent, to approve another preservation overlay project with the Road Commission for Oakland County May 7.

The project would affect about 2 1/2 miles of Commerce Road at a cost of $275,000 to the township. The project would be similar to the recent Halsted Road and Drake Road overlays.

“It’s not a complete reconstruction,” said Marshall Labadie, Development Services Department director. “This is a means the county has seen as a way to extend the life of roads, and it does help. If we can begin to apply this strategy throughout the township, we would be able to extend the life and buy us a little bit of breathing room (for roadwork).” 

Preservation overlays entail repairing roads with a 2-inch layer of asphalt over the existing road. Then, a mill smooths over the asphalt so that it is flush with the road.

Labadie said the Road Commission agreed to split the bill with the township, covering the other half of the cost. Officials hope the project could be completed within a month or two months. 

A formal agreement to the partnership will be on the Board of Trustees’ May 21 meeting agenda. 

The Road Commission board approved what was described as the largest-ever preservation overlay program March 8, after the state Legislature agreed to provide $175 million in additional funding to agencies across Michigan, such as the Road Commission, according to a press release. The Road Commission’s portion of those funds is $7 million — $4 million of which has been put into the preservation overlay program. The remaining $3 million will go toward the county’s spot resurfacing and concrete repair program. 

In total, the Road Commission will put more than $17.5 million into the preservation overlay program this year, the release states. This includes the additional $4 million in state funding and $4.5 million worth of projects funded mainly with federal funds, more than the entity has received in the past.

Local projects include Commerce Road, between Hiller and Orchard Lake roads; Haggerty Road, from 10 Mile Road to Pontiac Trail; and Hiller Road, from Commerce Road to Old Orchard Trail. 

Also at the May 7 meeting, a resident appealed to the board to make a trail connection from the West Bloomfield Lake Estates subdivision to the Recreation Activities Center’s Civic Center Trails. The subdivision is located immediately west of the center.

Sally Wenczel, a resident in the subdivision, proposed the idea to the board, saying that many residents in the 177-household subdivision are active walkers and use the trail system to walk to the West Bloomfield Township Public Library or to West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission facilities. 

Connecting the two trails would allow for residents to walk to the library much faster, cutting the walking time down to about seven minutes from 25 minutes. 

Trustees said the idea is interesting, and it will be put on the agenda for the May 21 meeting. 

Call Staff Writer Maddie Forshee at (586) 498-1093.