Otsego Township plans to start 108th Ave. work

By: 
Ryan Lewis (Editor)

Safety improvements to 108th Avenue in Otsego Township may get underway as soon as this fall.

Township supervisor Bryan Winn announced Monday, April 10, at the township board meeting that he expected to receive a work order this week for a project to reroute the road around a steep hill.

“I thought I’d have a work order for that job before tonight’s meeting,” he said.

The work would relocate approximately a quarter-mile of the gravel road around the hill, close to the township line. The township has $100,000 set aside in the current budget to cover the full cost of the project, an amount Winn said road commission officials had assured him would cover the costs of the project.

For Otsego native Jarrod Austin, who has lived near the dangerous stretch since 2004, the progress is cautiously encouraging.

“This seems a lot better than it has been because I’ve been pushed away a lot,” he said. He has advocated for the township or county to make the road safer since 2014.

He remembers being told that grants being sought for the work couldn’t be obtained based on available data; later, the grant request, he feels, was used as a way to put off his request further. Ultimately, the project did not win a Michigan Department of Transportation Safety Grant.

The problem with the road remained, however. Austin said he had a letter from the Otsego Public Schools transportation department that said they refused to travel the road out of safety concerns.

“Probably the worst part is that traffic has gotten greater; people are going faster,” Austin said. “The hill is pretty narrow, so you get garbage trucks, UPS—everybody comes in the center of the road.”

Winn said the project will end up using the same engineering prepared for the grant application. The project moves the quarter-mile section about 70 feet north, around the hill.

Once he receives the work order from the Allegan County Road Commission, the project will be put out to bid.

He said, “From what I’ve been told, now we’re just waiting on Consumers Energy to move two or three utility poles,” something for which he did not expect Consumers to act upon soon.

Because of that wait, Winn said, he is being told the project might be delayed long enough to push completion into 2018.

“But mainly, the road commission thinks they can do this within the $100,000 budget we have,” Winn said. That includes the property acquisition for the project; Winn said the road commission had already obtained the land at its expense. “Hopefully within the next 12 months, it’s done.”

 

Paving

Bids for four resurfacing projects came in much better than anticipated, despite even being better quality asphalt mix.

Winn said, “Actually, I presented these four projects (for bid through the road commission) thinking we’d have to eliminate one of them, but they came in very nicely.”

Board members voted 5-1 to accept a bid for all four projects from Rieth-Riley, which had the lowest bid at $370,170. Winn said there would probably be approximately $45,000 in administrative and engineering costs from the county road commission as well. The current budget includes $450,000 for paving and culvert work.

Board trustee Rick Moll was absent.

Board trustee Lori Bumgart was the lone dissenting vote, hesitant to approve the projects due to uncertainty about the work on 108th Avenue.

“I just feel like we’re kind of rushing. I know we need to do all these things, but we’re not taking into consideration what-if’s,” she said.

Board clerk Joan Squibbs pointed out that the costs for the paving work as well as the maintenance work all fell within budgeted amounts.

Board trustee Karen Burns said, “Our what-if’s are usually a culvert washing out. If it’s bad enough, the county (road commission) would come in and do it. And we’d pay them back or something, if it was a health and safety issue.”

The paving projects include:

• 19th Street, from 108th Avenue north 1 mile; $139,824

• Woodlea Drive (Sky Haven subdivision); $50,067.50

• 13th Street, from 102nd Avenue south to the county line; $88,858

• Elm, Oak, Briar and Tanglewood streets (Southgate subdivision); $91,420.50

Board members also approved a work order for a culvert replacement at 110th Avenue and 15th Street, scheduled for work this year.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

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