FLINT TWP. — Come summer, bikers, walkers and runners crossing Linden Road at Norko Drive should have a safer, easier passage.
The township board voted unanimously last week to participate in a plan to install a pedestrian signal upgrade at that intersection, in cooperation with the Genesee County Road Commission and the Genesee Valley Mall.
The traffic signal will be located at the point where the recreational Genesee Valley Trail crosses Linden Road at Norko.
Plans also are moving forward to extend the recreational trail along Norko to connect to trails in the Flint Township Park.
The township board agreed to pay half of the $19,800 cost to install the traffic signal. The road commission will pay the other half.
The commitment also requires the township to pay 25 percent of ongoing maintenance and operation costs along with Shopping Centers Inc. (the mall) picking up 25 percent of those costs and the road commission paying 50 percent of costs.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said she had expressed to road commission engineers that the township did not want to pay half the installation cost and was told that the project would not be done without it.
Without the signal upgrade, the intersection poses a danger to trail users crossing busy Linden Road, Miller said.
The upgraded traffic signal will include an LED countdown pedestrian “walk/don’t walk” notice and also have pushbutton activation.
Trustee Frank Kasle said he did not think it was right for the road commission to make the township pay half the signal costs but he voted for it because it was a safety issue.
Miller said she’d been told by road commission officials that the installation costs estimate may be higher than the actual end cost.
Trustee Belenda Parker asked for confirmation that mall owners are aware they will be responsible for paying 25 percent of maintenance and operation costs.
Miller said she would find out but assumed the road commission officials had handled getting their consent.
It has been nearly two years since the board approved plans to extend the Genesee Valley Trail along Norko Drive to connect with the park trails.
The plan was narrowly approved in a 4- 3 vote because dissenting trustees thought the money would be better spent on worst roads in the township.
At that time, the cost was estimated at $137,000 and is to include removing the island at Norko and Linden, resurfacing the asphalt, restriping the pavement to three lanes and creating room for fourfoot wide paved shoulders to extend the recreational trail into the township park.
The township would pay $88,000 of costs from its road millage funds. The road commission would pay engineering and inspection costs estimated at $27,500 and about $21,000 in 50/50 matching funds.
The project has since been held up while easements were obtained from nearby businesses.
The final easement from Babies R Us was granted in November, paving the way for the work to begin this spring.