Rural road worsens, splits residents
DEEP RIVER TOWNSHIP — Some residents living along Deep River Road between Jose Road and M-76 are urging the Road Commission and Deep River Township Board to take action to repair huge holes and remedy the flooding issue on the county road.
However, the major repairs would include ditching and repositioning the road along the section line where it belongs, said Arenac County Road Commission Superintendent Blair Dyer, adding that it would cause some residents to lose yard area and trees.
“The road’s supposed to be 66-feet to the East in some areas. The road would go right through their (people living on the curves in the road) yards,” Dyer said. “The road’s a section line, but it isn’t in the right spot. That’s the hang-up on that. That, and money.”
Dyer added that two years ago, the Deep River Township Board was considering a $150,000 project, 75 percent of which the township would be responsible for providing while the Road Commission would have provided the other 25 percent, but when that project came to a board vote, it failed.
According to Deep River Township Trustee Charles J. Bomaster, another vote was taken on whether or not to improve road.
That vote taken in January also failed 3-2.
“A lot of that opposition’s [influenced] from people living on that road,” Bomaster said, adding that those residents want to keep the road in its current state. “It’s kind of pretty, but it’s not very practical.”
“They want to keep it natural. They don’t want it like a boulevard,” said Don Kroczaleski, who lives on Deep River Road.
Kroczaleski is one resident who supports fixing the road as the Commission proposed in the past. His stance became stronger Easter weekend when he said he saw a pickup truck stuck in a pothole and resulting deep mud puddle in the middle of the road.
He said the water was up to the truck’s tailgate.
“It’s an unimproved road. … It’s basically just the way it was years ago,” Dyer said. “That road doesn’t really have any drainage on it.”
According to Kroczaleski, the road’s lack of drainage, which leads to flooding throughout the year, is due to having no ditches and the road being lower than the ground on either side of it.
Kroczaleski said that the ground resembles banks and that the road, because it sits lower than the ground, is “just like a river.”
For now, though, homes along Deep River Road will have to deal with the potholes and water, since Bomaster said the issue of doing major reconstruction is practically “off the table” (a non-issue) for the board
But Bomaster isn’t hindering Kroczaleski’s or any other township resident’s efforts to work towards repairs.
“It would certainly help if the people wrote some letters in support of fixing the road,” Bomaster said. “If he (Kroczaleski) wants to spearhead a drive and get a petition of people, that’s fine.”
And Kroczaleski seems to be willing to be active in making a change. He has contacted the Road Commission several times and has seen some results.
Kroczaleski said that since contacting the Arenac County Road Commission cones have been put up around the big holes.
“I hope it (the Road Commission placing cones and widening the road) will put pressure on the township to do something,” he said.
The Road Commission has also widened the shoulder in areas of the road where cones have been placed around deep holes to give vehicles an ample amount of room to travel around the puddles.
While Kroczaleski is hoping the minor adjustments will push the board towards a solution, Bomaster says he prefers fixing the road only if it is done in the way proposed by the Road Commission in prior years.
“If we’re going to put money into it, I think we should do it properly,” Bomaster said.
Deep River Road in Deep River Township runs north and south between M-76 and Jose Road. It is approximately five miles long. The road also has an unconnected section in Lincoln Township that runs north and south is approximately six miles long from the Arenac-Bay County Line to Townline Road.
Check out the Deep River Road photo gallery for more pictures of the road's condition.