Road Wise: Five more of your road questions answered
You asked the road questions, and we got you the answers. Here are answers to the next five of your frequently asked questions about roads and the Washtenaw County Road Commission.
1. How are members of the Road Commission compensated and how much to they make per year? The three appointed Washtenaw County Road Commissioners are paid $10,500 per year and this amount is determined by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, said Roy Townsend, newly appointed managing director of the Washtenaw County Road Commission.
2. What is the difference in annual maintenance costs between a gravel road and a paved road? Are there plans to flip some paved roads back to gravel for a time?
“The cost varies depending on numerous conditions,” Townsend said. “A low volume gravel road with good drainage being lowest cost to maintain, up to a heavy volume multi-lane paved road, is the most expensive.”
Currently, there are no plans to convert some the county paved roads back to gravel roads, which have been done in other locations in Michigan. However, with declining gas tax revenues and no proposed funding increases from Lansing, this could also start occurring in Washtenaw County in near future, Townsend said.
3. Are there plans to repave Carpenter Road between Washtenaw and Packard Road?
Yes. This project currently has a portion of federal funding scheduled for 2014, Townsend said.
4. When will the section of Ann Arbor-Saline Road between Eisenhower and Waters and Lohr roads be redone?
The funding for this project has not been identified. “However, this is one of the top priority projects the Road Commission proposed to the County Board of Commissioners for a countywide 1-year, 0.6 mil millage, which was planned to fix some of the worst roads in the county. The County Commissioners voted against this proposal on Dec. 7, and deferred the issue until 2012,” Townsend said.
5. When driving into Ann Arbor via Ann Arbor-Saline Road, why can't the traffic lights be synchronized so that one can drive the speed limit and hit green lights from Maple Road to Stadium?
“With new signal upgrades we have just recently started, we are in discussion on synchronizing traffic signals along this corridor, as well as other corridors with both the City of Ann Arbor and Michigan Department of Transportation,” Townsend said.
Readers need to keep in mind that the Washtenaw County Road Commission is not responsible for city or village roads in places such as Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea, Dexter or Manchester.
For questions about roads in those cities or villages, residents should contact the city engineers, city or village managers with their road questions as these communities have individual road funds or millages which are paid for with tax dollars that are used to fix these streets.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission oversees county roads in the 20 townships and projects are dependent on state and federal funds as well as township contributions. What road projects are chosen each year are discussed with elected officials from the townships and the Road Commissions during open public meetings when votes are taken on each year’s planned road work, including bridge, resurfacing and dust control.
Residents who would like to see specific projects considered in 2012, should call their township supervisors or village presidents or board members and make their wishes heard. Or, speak during the public comment portion of a board meeting.
Do you have questions about local roads you'd like answered? Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. She plans to run the answers to reader's questions twice a month.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.