Benton Harbor adds portion of road to street system

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — A item discussed at great length among Benton Harbor city commissioners Monday night pertained to just three-tenths of a mile worth of road.

Commissioners approved a resolution by a 6-2 vote to add 0.37 miles worth of Klock Road to the city’s major street system.

The portion the road to be added had belonged to the state. It includes the portion that intercedes and connects to the M-63/Klock Road intersection.

City Manager Darwin Watson said the state reached out to the city about the portion of the road – which was part of the former state overpass that was designated as a state truck line. By approving the street transfer, the city is now responsible for its maintenance.

Commissioners Duane Seats and MaryAlice Adams said they did not want to support the resolution, as the city has enough roads to plow.

“What it sounds like to me is the state does not want to maintain the road anymore, so they want us to assume the responsibilities,” Seats said. “If we leave it in their hands they will have to maintain it. I don’t think we have the ability to plow any more streets.”

Watson told the board that once Benton Harbor is given the piece of road, the city will receive $8,000 for maintenance toward its major street system – a number that is based off a formula calculated by state Act 51.

While some commissioners were adamant about how the amount of money is determined, Watson said no dollar amount was added onto the resolution for the meeting’s agenda because the total figure Benton Harbor will receive can fluctuate over time.

“We are not coming out pocket to do this. We are gaining money from our Act 51 coffers by accepting this piece,” Watson said. “It’s a small section that goes across M-63. It used to be the old exchange when it was an overpass there. The street is fine. There is nothing wrong with it. It is one of the higher-rated streets in our street system.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Sharon Henderson said the city is already plowing the majority of Klock Road, and that the small portion would not hinder the city’s efforts on other streets during the winter.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@thehp.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 5, 2015)

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