Since 1990, the Kent County Road Commission’s Adopt-a-Road program has invited community volunteers to keep their favorite corridors litter-free. Celebrating its 25th anniversary on July 24, 2015, the program has grown to encompass over 200 stretches of roadway cleaned by a wide range of groups including families, community organizations, and businesses. Supporters adopt specific roads for myriad reasons: as a simple philanthropic gesture, to support the area in which they live, to serve the community where they own a business, or to honor the memory of a loved one. Regardless of the reason, the work conducted exemplifies the positive collaborative spirit shared between KCRC and the community it serves. This past May, the Richmond family of Lowell, Michigan, demonstrated how “fun” roadside clean-up can be by inviting extended family members to volunteer for this effort in front of the family farm. In loving memory of the family’s patriarch and matriarch, Jerrold and Diane Richmond, the impressive clean-up crew, totaling 22 children and 10 adults, spent the day clearing debris, sharing laughs and recounting fond memories. “We adopted the road we grew up on in honor of Mom and Dad,” explained Andrea Richmond Wirgau. “I’m very proud and pleased to see their names every time I turn towards home. They both deeply respected the land, and we are able to carry on their legacy by caring for it today and in the future – something so simple, yet powerful.” Groups of 7 or more interested in adopting a road may apply by submitting an Adopt-A-Road Permit application, available at www.kentcountyroads.net or by contacting KCRC’s Permit Department at 616-242-6920.
Kent County Road Commission
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL In the mid-70’s the City of Rockford requested that the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) take over ownership of Rockford’s Division Street segment of 10-Mile Road. The KCRC accepted the offer under the conditions that the City would first bring the road up to County standards and enter into a 50/50 cost share agreement for future major reconstruction. Since the inception of the agreement the KCRC has provided little, other than remedial repairs, to the 3-lane stretch of roadway between Main Street and Wolverine Blvd. (think between the Independent Bank and North Rockford Middle School). Today 10-Mile Rd. is one of the most heavily trafficked east/west roads in northern Kent County. Daily the roadway carries, on average, some 20,000+ vehicles through the very heart of Rockford. Not only is it busy, at times it is one of the bumpiest, bone-jarring, teeth-rattling, shock-absorber busting stretches of road one might ever care (NOT) to traverse! The thumping of tires into potholes, especially at night, has caused many a sleepless night for the residents of the homes that line both sides. All that is soon to change. The KCRC is currently seeking bids, with a May 31st deadline, to mill and resurface the old roadway with a smooth new asphalt topcoat. Work is anticipated to begin in June after the close of school and will be short-lived, requiring 4 to 10 days. It is as yet to be determined whether the work will be done during daylight hours or at night. As there are no viable or practical detours around the construction zone it would be more advantageous and quicker if the work required were to be done during evening hours when traffic is at a low ebb. The $300,000 dollar cost of the project will be shared equally between KCRC and the City of Rockford. The County will allow the City to make two $75,000 payments over two years rather than require a lump sum payment of $150,000 upon completion. Additionally, Rockford plans to take advantage of the construction by decommissioning an old 4” water main that runs under the roadway surface between Main St. and Fremont St. Doing so will require the City to open the surface at the intersections of […]
Roadwork expected to last through May by BETH ALTENA Fill from grade work on the future site of an Olympic style archery complex is being used to raise the grade of Ten Mile Road east of Wolven Avenue by as much as six feet. Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) Director of Engineering Wayne Harroll said contractor Dean’s Excavating was probably able to give a very competitive bid for the two projects as the soil had to travel just a short distance from the complex site to the road just to the north of the complex site. “This is the second phase of the project and it will be similar to what we did west of Wolven last year,” Harroll said. The widening of Ten Mile to five lanes from the Rockford Meijer store to Wolven Avenue took place last summer and fall and required no road closure. This spring’s project includes widening the road from Wolven to Childsdale Avenue, including extending culverts to accommodate Ten Mile’s new dimensions, curbs and a bike path on each side of the road. Harroll said the weather did allow crews to start early, but only by a span of three days or so. He noted that the early weather prompted the asphalt companies to open sooner, making that product available earlier than normal. Currently traffic is diverted into two lanes on the north side of Ten Mile Road, slowing travel time slightly. As work is finished on the south side of Ten Mile, drivers will be shifted to that side of the road throughout the remainder of the construction. Crews from KCRC were able to finish more of last year’s project than was expected due to the unseasonably mild fall. Harroll said organizers of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), who will be building a sports complex south of Ten Mile in Plainfield Township are working with his engineers on their project. Construction of roadways or parking and other site preparation are the responsibility of the WMSC, not that of the KCRC, Harroll said. Work on this second phase of widening Ten Mile began Wednesday, March 28.
Township to reimburse $88,653 by BETH ALTENA The Plainfield Township Board in July voted to reimburse the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) $88,400 the commission invested in an approved widening of Belmont Road that was later cancelled. The KCRC in 2009 proposed the project, which was to be funded mainly by $900,000 in federal grants and also by $200,000 kicked in by the township. After the KCRC had spent over $100,000 on the project, an upwelling of disapproval for the widening caused the board in 2010 to rescind their approval of the project. Township Manager Robert Homan said the KCRC asked to be reimbursed for $106,000 they had spent in good faith after the roadwork was improved, noting they had invested in field surveys, design, permits, staking and acquisition of roadway from residents with homes on the road. The township counter-proposed to reimburse the road commission $41,617 of the non-recoverable costs and pledged to pay $25,000 this year toward upkeep of the stretch of road and $21,000 in the future for the same purpose. The total reimbursement under the agreement from the township to the commission would total $88,653. Trustee Vic Matthews said, “Under the circumstances, we’ve got us a pretty good deal. They could have charged us considerably more.” Trustee Jack Hagedorn expressed concern over how the reversal came about. “Something was wrong with the process. After the final vote there was a huge groundswell of disapproval. Somewhere along the way there was a disconnect.” He said he is glad, as Vic was, that $46,000 would go toward the upkeep of Belmont, which until recently was plagued with potholes. Treasurer Jim Stover was philosophical about the deal. “We made an agreement to be part of the project in 2009 to the tune of $200,000. A year later we changed our mind. I think paying out $88,400 is a good commitment on our part to resolve this and put it to bed.” Trustee Charles Weldon was also for the payment and noted that all the people who were paid for easements were asked to return the money since the widening of the road was cancelled, removing the need for the easement. He said not a single one of the residents who were paid had returned […]
by JUDY REED A serious accident at the intersection of 15 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue on June 7 in Courtland Township have neighbors wondering what it will take to get a four-way stop put in. “Does someone have to die?” asked Sharon Parker, a neighbor who was at the scene of the crash, and helped lift the SUV off of a teen pinned underneath the tire. Several people have complained to the Cedar Springs Post that it is hard to see at the intersection if you are traveling on 15 Mile. But does that warrant a four-way stop? According to data on the Kent County Road Commission website, traffic volume in the area has grown little over the last several years, and sees about 2,000 cars in a 24-hour period. That’s two-way traffic, so could be 1,000 cars going then coming home. Traffic counts have actually dropped on 15 Mile through that area, between 2005 and 2008, and increased only slightly on Shaner. Tim Haagsma, P.E., director of traffic and safety at the Kent County Road Commission, said that they have to follow a manual put out by the federal government called the Public Manual of Safety Control Devices, when gauging whether an intersection warrants a four-way stop. “We look at both traffic volumes and crash rates,” he explained, “and they have less than one-third of the number of crashes needed.” He went on to say that according to their data, there were three crashes reported at that intersection between 2005 and 2010, and what would warrant a four-way stop would be five crashes in a 12-month period. “That intersection is not near the rate where we’d say a problem occurs,” noted Haagsma. He said that following federal guidelines helps eliminate a proliferation of four-way stops where they could do more harm than good. Haagsma noted that while a four-way stop would reduce right-angle crashes, it would lead to more rear-end crashes. “We always have to look at the trade-off,” he said. But Parker would like to see the guidelines changed, and she is asking concerned residents to call Senator Mark Jansen’s office at (517) 373-0797. “Maybe if enough people call, we can get it changed,” she said. Parker also had a request for […]