Roundabout plan moves ahead despite objections

FLINT TWP. — Residents at the township board meeting Monday night spoke against plans moving forward for a traffic roundabout the Genesee County Road Commission is planning to build at Court and Dye roads, despite objections from residents.

During public comment, Alex Clark urged the board to actively work to see that residents wishes are met.

“I would like you guys to speak up and tell the road commission that we don’t want it here in Flint Township,” said Clark, who ran unsuccessfully for clerk in the August primary.

“The Road Commission said they own the roads but it is not a dictatorship. They do report to the county commissioners. They do report to the Road Commissioners. I would ask you guys to appeal to them and tell them the residents do not want this,” Clark said.

He emphasized it still is taxpayers money being spent on the project even if those funds are not coming from the township’s coffers.

Gerald Roberts, another resident, wondered where the road commission would get the money to cover the township’s share.

“It looks like no matter how this board votes and how the people express their sentiments with regards to this roundabout out here on Court and Dye, it doesn’t’ make any difference,” Roberts said. “The powers that be decided they are going to do it anyway.”

Their comments reflect those expressed at a packed public hearing in October where several residents spoke against the roundabout citing concerns including its small size, proximity to residences, difficulty maneuvering on icy roads and driver confusion.

After hearing residents concerns, the township board voted six to one not to participate in the project. They were being asked to pay about $23,100 of the cost. Ninety percent of the $289,000 project cost is being paid by a federal safety grant and the road commission is paying $58,000 in engineering fees.

John Daly, road commission director, said the purpose of the public hearing was not to seek the township board’s permission but rather its participation to share in financing the project.

The road commission has since taken into consideration residents concerns but determined that the roundabout is the most effective and efficient solution for that intersection, he said.

“We went back and looked at suggestions made and the roundabout appears at this point the way to go to reduce the level of risk at that intersection,” Daly said.

He cited 28 accidents and one fatality in the past five years which was the basis for receiving the federal safety grant that would not otherwise be available.

‘’The only reason the road commission undertakes this type of project is to improve public safety,’’ he said.

He noted that four different road agencies support a roundabout at that intersection the road commission, the county planning commission, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

The township’s Road Advisory Committee also voted in favor of the roundabout as its recommendation to township board.

Daly cited several projects throughout Michigan where single lane roundabouts like the one planned have been placed in residential areas including one directly connected to a driveway,

The road commission has said during public presentations that no private land would be involved in building the roundabout.

“We are not doing anything in terms of traffic control that is new,’ Daly said.

He said plans for the roundabout are in the early planning stages but the goal is to begin construction by spring, hopefully in conjunction with other planned road and drainage improvements on Dye Road, and to have the roundabout done by fall.

Daly said funding for the project will come from federal aid matching funds .

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