September 1, 2014

Road commission post-winter cleanup hindered by poor weather

Road construction begins around the county

By Matt Keeton
Staff Writer | reporter@ogemawherald.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County Road Commission fared well though the long winter, staying within budget for maintenance of local roads, but got a late start on post-winter road maintenance, due to heavy rainfall over the past couple of weeks, according to Road Commissioner Blair Dyer.

“It was a long winter,” Dyer said. “Of course it was a little costly, but we were OK.”

He said that, while the road commission stayed within its budget for maintaining local roads, it went over its budget for the maintenance of state roads, which is funded by the state. He said this was the case for many counties, and that the county is not responsible for the extra expenses that were incurred.

According to Dyer, rainfall prevented the road commission from grading and cleaning up roads after the snowfall.

“Every time we’ve started, we’ve had rain,” Dyer said. “Normally, we’re not this far behind.

He said that there is a lot of work to be done.

“We’re out blading and trying to get (the roads) back in shape,” Dyer said. “You can figure we have around 400 miles of (paved) roads in the county.”

Dyer said that the rain caused numerous problems, including washouts and standing water on roadways. He said standing water was especially a problem on roadways near the AuGres River.

According to Dyer, the road commission was finally able to begin working on the roads May 2. He said that high winds the day before helped dry up excess moisture.

Dyer said that various road construction projects around the county have begun. He said that a bridge on Arenac State Road near Omer, crossing the Rifle River, was closed May 2 to have the deck replaced, a project which he said should take around three months.

He said that the road commission is having a stretch of McLarty Road replaced, behind the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Standish.

According to Dyer, the Michigan Department of Transportation is also doing road work in the county, adding turning lanes at the intersection of Worth Road and M-13.

“Just like us, they wanted to start a week ago, but the weather wouldn’t cooperate,” Dyer said.

He said the road commission will also be doing work on Worth Road, beginning at the end of May. He said the road will be widened, and improvements will be made to the railroad crossing.

Dyer said that, considering persisting weather problems, the road commission is doing as well as can be expected, and is even prepared for next year’s snowfall.

“We’re set for (next) winter,” Dyer said.

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