Norko Road project expanded

FLINT TWP. — An additional $25,000 cost has been added to the controversial road improvement project on Norko Drive,

In a 4-2 vote, with one member absent, the township board approved the additional expense to extend repaving work to Fleckenstein Drive. The original project, approved in 2012, covered repairs from Linden Road to O’Neal Drive, east of Fleckenstein.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller noted the efficiency of getting the work done at the same time.

Trustees Belenda Parker and Barb Vert voted no. Parker said the added cost was not a small amount and asked why the proposed extension was not submitted first to the township’s

Road Advisory Committee. Her motion to table the request to get input from the Road Advisory Committee was defeated 4-2.

Miller said time was of the essence, as the Genesee County Road Commission was getting ready to bid the project out and needed a fast response

“We have a small window to do road projects,’’ she said. The work is slated to begin July but putting it off for road advisory input could delay getting the project done this year, she said. The ultimate decision rests with the township board, she added.

She noted that the bulk of the project’s costs are covered by 50-50 funds shared with the road commission and the township has already paid all but $32,000 of its share.

The Norko project was approved in April of 2012 but delayed by easements needed from nearby businesses. An estimated project cost of $88,000 in 2012 included removing an island on Norko at Linden, resurfacing the asphalt, restriping the pavement to three lanes, and creating room for four-foot-wide paved shoulders to connect the new Genesee Valley Trail to the recreational trail at the Flint Township Park.

The board narrowly approved the project in a 4-3 vote back then. It marked the first time that the board did not follow the recommendation of its road advisory committee which voted 4-4 against the project, according to one longtime member who called it a misappropriation of millage funds earmarked for improvements of residential roads.

Clerk Kim Courts pointed out that township police use the road a lot. The police station is located on Norko at Fleckenstein.

Police Chief George Sippert pointed out that Norko Road is a busy thoroughfare used by drivers enroute to Genesee Valley Center shopping mall.

He said Norko actually is in worse shape closer to Dye Road but he understood funding limits.

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