Road commission to finish road projects with 2014 state funding

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

Drivers on Lapeer Road will be dodging orange barrels again this year.

The St. Clair County Road Commission plans to complete some 2015 road projects from a state fund, which awarded the county $4.2 million in January 2014.

Money from the risks and reserves fund has already been used to fund several projects in St. Clair County as part of the road commission’s transportation plan.

Kirk Weston, road commission managing director, said there is a section of Lapeer Road and one intersection in Kimball Township that will be completed using 2014 reserves fund.

“They are last year’s funds, but we are having a carryover,” Weston said. “The state basically cuts you a check to only be used for the projects that were submitted. We have already received the funds for this, we just have to complete them.”

Work on Lapeer from Allen to Wadhams in Kimball Township will begin in May with an estimated completion date of July.

Crews finished work on Lapeer between Beach and Allen roads in November, but the project won’t be closed until May, Weston said, until work including grass seeding is completed.

Those two projects will cost the county $2.8 million.

“It’s all one project, but because of the time constraint we broke it up into two,” Weston said. “They both come from the reserve funds. One portion is just not closed out completely.”

Work on the intersection of Wadhams and Lapeer will begin in May, and will require $500,000 from the reserves funds.

Weston said the work will include storm sewers and repaving the intersection.

A project to repave Lapeer Road from 24th to 32nd streets in Port Huron Township was completed with the use of the reserves funds. It cost $270,000 to take off two inches of asphalt and repave the section.

Shea Road in Cotterville and Ira townships, which was started and completed in June 2014, used $620,000 of reserve funds and $450,000 of the road commission’s funds.

“The receipt of these funds assist the road commission in providing a safe, efficient and cost-effective transportation system for the county,” Weston said. “The road commission worked closely with our legislators and provided them information on local transportation needs.”

The road commission has received similar funding before. In July 2014, the county received $1.2 million from the state’s Priority Road Investment Projects Fund worth $1.2 million.

The state also has distributed general surplus funds, with the road commission receiving $945,000. Those funds will be used for ditch digging on local roads and a chip seal program for road preservation in the county’s townships, Weston said.

“A lot of these funds we’ll apply four or five years ago,” he said. “What we do is submit projects within the county that need to be done. They want projects that are in your transportation improvement plans.”

The commission did not have to apply for money from the risk reserves fund. Projects the road commission considered important were submitted to the county’s state representatives — Dan Lauwers and Andrea LaFontaine, Weston said.

“We were selected for the risk reserves fund and the priority road fund out of a large group,” he said. “These were unexpected funds. They weren’t in our plans at the beginning of the year, so that’s why it is a carryover.”

Weston said the decision about whether the commission will receive similar funding is up to the state.

“We are going to apply for any grants as long as they are available,” Weston said. “With the reserves fund, that’s up to the state.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 14, 2015)

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