Rebuild of crumbling section of Grove Road could be pushed forward to spring 2013
City of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and Washtenaw County Road Commission officials are working to move up the planned reconstruction of a stretch of Grove Road to spring 2013.
The section of crumbling road between the two municipalities and the Interstate 94 overpass has been a point of contention between the governments in the past.
The road lies in the city of Ypsilanti but is mainly used by Ypsilanti Township residents because no city residents live nearby. The city prioritized other projects in areas where they said roads were in worse shape and were more traversed by their residents.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Because of a lack of funds, the project was originally scheduled for 2015. It was then moved up to 2014, but officials believe they have found a way to push it forward to 2013.
At the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees Aug. 27 meeting, Supervisor Brenda Stumbo announced she had met with city and Road Commission officials to discuss the idea. Any changes to the construction date would have to be approved by the Ypsilanti City Council.
Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange, who is the former director of the Monroe County Road Commission, said the project could moved up by using an option called advance construct that brings federal and state dollars forward for urgent and shovel-ready projects.
The city already has design plans around 40 percent complete, said Ypsilanti Department of Public Works Director Stan Kirton. The process for completing those plans will be accelerated if it is approved by city council.
The Road Commission would advance funds designated for city of Ypsilanti projects in 2014, when it currently has the Grove Road project scheduled. The city would then complete the project in 2013 and pay back those funds in 2014.
The funds are a mix of state and federal dollars available through the Transportation Improvement Program that is administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
“They want to see the impact of the public dollars being spent today and that’s why this helps everybody; it’s good for everybody,” Lange said, adding that he will likely recommend the Ypsilanti City Council approve moving the project up at its Sept. 18 meeting.
Completing the estimated $450,000 rebuild a year earlier also likely would keep the cost of materials down, which fluctuates depending on petroleum prices.
In October, a split Ypsilanti council rejected an Ypsilanti Township proposal to loan the city money from a shared fund to pay to resurface the road. The resurfacing would have been a temporary fix, but a majority of city council was only interested in a total rebuild of the road.
Lange said this approach is much more palatable because there is no official transfer of money between the township and the city.
Kirton and Lange also said it is a better approach because a temporary resurfacing that only lasts a couple years would have been a poor way to spend money.
“Anything other than a full reconstruction would be throwing good money after bad money,” Kirton said. “This way we don’t have to worry about it for a long time.”
The border between the township and the city runs down Emerick Road, which dead-ends at a southwest angle into Grove. The area south and east of Emerick and Grove is the township. A small slice of land that includes the road north and west of Emerick belongs to the city.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission repaved the road on the township’s side several years ago. During that project, it slimmed the township’s section of the road from four lanes to two while adding bike lanes. Kirton previously said that has caused extra stress on the city’s side.
Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber, who voted against the township directly loaning the city money for a temporary rebuild, said he doesn’t have all the information on the proposal but has met with township officials and is intrigued by the idea.
“Now we’re talking about a complete rebuild and getting it done so it would last a lot longer,” he said. “If we can do it so it gets done sooner, then I’m all for it.”
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.