City plans to move ahead with some road work in 2021

BURTON — The city plans to begin several road projects throughout 2021, including work on parts of Grand Traverse, Bristol Road and Saginaw Street.

City Councilman Danny Wells asked for an update on planned 2021 road projects at the council’s regular meeting Feb. 15.

Charles Abbey, director of the Burton Department of Public Works, confirmed work would take place on Grand Traverse, between Bristol and Hemphill roads, while there would be another on Saginaw Street, from Bristol Road to Judd Street, and then from Judd to Maple Avenue.

Abbey said some of the city’s projects have been moved up in regard to timing because of the deteriorating condition of some roads.

“We have a very, very busy year,” he said. “Some of it will be done in the early half, some in the latter half of the year. Saginaw Street is two projects, but we put them together.”

He said the plan was to complete the work on Saginaw Street earlier in the year because of Back to the Bricks, still currently scheduled for August if it is held this year. The event was cancelled last year due to COVID-19 concerns.

Abbey said the city will have a couple major projects because of some shuffling around the past couple years.

There will be a preventative maintenance project on Maple Avenue, from Sandalwood Drive to Saginaw Street and from Fenton Road to Sandalwood.

Wells asked about further work on Center Road, which has already seen some improvements in recent years. Abbey said currently there is no work planned on Center Road because of plans by Consumers Energy to tear up portions of the road this year to put in a gas main.

“That one has been kicked back a year because Consumers is going to run their gas main down Center Road,” said Abbey. “There’s no reason to do anything now. They’ll take out a whole lane to put their gas main in.”

He said the city is coordinating plans for work on Center Road with the gas company so they don’t run into a situation like they did on Potter Road where the county ran part of the Karengrondi water system down that road unexpectedly right after there had been major repaving work done.

“You know what that caused…a couple years of agony,” said Abbey. “So we’re trying to coordinate with our partners, the county and other entities like Consumers, and require them to come in with a plan 2-3 years out so we know what they’re doing.”

Wells said another portion of road residents are calling for action on is Bristol Road from Belsay to Vassar road.

Abbey said the city has been working on that plan for two months and the DPW has ideas it wants to sit down with council and discuss. He said overall to do the project correctly it would cost about $1.2 million, but if the city can avoid having to rebuild a culvert at Bristol Road and Dallas Street, which would require them to run large tubes under the roadway, the city might save about $600,000.

“If we don’t do that crossing, we have to make sure its structurally sound,” he said. “If you want to leave it and make improvements, the last thing we want to do is make improvements and have to go back later and put (the culvert) in. If the culvert can be saved, we can do the road and address the culvert 5-10 years down the road.”

Wells said Bristol Road has been contentious for the city for years and he said the city should see what is needed to rebuild it and make it right.

“It’s been a problem ever since I’ve been on the city council,” he said. “We give it a lick and a promise, and it just doesn’t last.”

Abbey said the city currently has about $700,000 a year earmarked for road preservation, but the council may need to start looking into budgeting more money for roads and city streets. maybe want to put more money into preservation.

Reconstructions are difficult and costly, he said, adding the only way to get anything done at a reasonable cost is to get involved in state Tax Increment Financing programs where the city can get an 80-20 percent funding match.

“You have to get into the TIF program to get the 80-20 match. Hard to try to solo them because one road will cost you millions,” said Abbey. “Be patient with some of the roads – it’s foolish not to get into the (TIF) program.”