Fruitland Township is seeking funds to pave Murray Road from Scenic Drive to Dock Road near the White Lake Channel. They still need around $110,000 to do the project.
Fruitland Township has resurfaced more than 45 miles of roads in the past four years in cooperative efforts with the Muskegon County Road Commission (MCRC) and neighboring townships, and this coming summer they’d like to add to that with the repaving of a road which leads to a popular recreational location - the White River Light Station and Maritime Muskegon and the Lake Michigan beach on the south side of the White Lake Channel.
However, the township is $110,000 short of meeting the anticipated $550,000 project.
The township is considering repaving 1.36 miles of Murray Road from Scenic Drive to Dock Rd. near the White Lake Channel in 2013. The road provides access to mainly seasonal homes, including the private Sylvan Beach Association, but it also provides access to the lighthouse museum, the channel which is a popular fishing spot and the Lake Michigan beach.
The township board approved the expenditure of its share of the projects costs, $330,000, or 60 percent, at its meeting Nov. 19.
In the recent past, the MCRC has matched with 40 percent of the cost of paving roads in the township, but this time Fruitland Township Supervisor Sam St. Amour said the road commission will only fund 20 percent or $110,000 because that stretch of road does not meet the standards for its Asset Management Profile.
That leaves the project short $110,000.
The same night the township board approved the payment of $425,569.68 to the road commission for its share of road paving projects in 2012. The township also shared in the cost of paving a portion of McMillan Rd. with neighboring Dalton Township. Each township contributed $15,537 for 60 percent of the cost, and the road commission picked up the remaining 40 percent.
St. Amour said they looked at a less expensive method of paving Murray Road - double prime and seal - but the road commission did not recommend it because it will not be as durable as asphalt.
The supervisor said the double prime and seal would only cut the asphalt portion of the project - $213,000 - in half. The majority of the project cost is for tree and concrete removal, storm drainage and work on the aggregate base.
St. Amour said the township could just pave a portion of the Murray Road this summer, but it would increase the overall cost of the entire project because they would incur more contractor mobilization costs (getting equipment to the site) in the future portion. The mobilization costs for the proposed project is $12,000.
Township trustees Gary Bole and Jan Deur both suggested the township complete the project in one phase.
“It’s something we should do at this point if we can do it financially,” Deur said.
St. Amour said one idea for raising the final $110,000 would be to create a special assessment district on Murray which would raise funds among the property owners at 170 addresses benefitting from the project within the district.
The township board agreed to form a citizens advisory committee to look at forming a special assessment district.
Another idea, is to seek grants for the funds. The township board is asking the daughter of incoming township trustee, Val Rissi, to apply for grants. Rissi was elected to the township board in the Nov. 6 general election. St. Amour said Rissi’s daughter has experience in grant writing, but there isn’t a lot of grant funds out there.
The need for resurfacing Murray Road, according to a preliminary cost document from the road commission, is failures in the road surface due to settlement of sand base caused by low strength and poor surface water drainage near the road. The north one-third of the project is particularly challenging due to the combination of hills and the close proximity of other improvements such as sidewalks and retaining walls.
Added to that, the grading needed for the project would be within a Critical Dunes Zone and would require a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The proposed project includes rehabilitating the pavement by crushing it in its place. A binder would be mixed with the crushed material to create a base on which to place a new hot mix of asphalt driving surface. Each side of the road would be trenched to allow the placement of base gravel to support the shoulder and pavement.
Starting at Scenic Drive, the road commission recommends widening the road surface from 18 feet to 20 feet. North of Wilson Road, concrete curb and gutter are recommended to control water runoff on the hill. In that area the width of the road surface would narrow to 18 feet. A portion of the road would have to be shifted to the west to give clearance to the existing side slope and stairs. A section of sidewalk on the west side would have to be removed.