Archived Story

Rain delays Redfield bridge repairs

Published 9:25am Friday, September 18, 2009

By NORMA LERNER
Niles Daily Star

CASSOPOLIS – Workers will be starting soon on repairs to the Redfield Street Bridge over the Christiana Creek in Ontwa Township. Chief Engineer Joseph Bellina III reported Thursday morning during a meeting of the Cass County Road Commission that high water from recent rain delayed the repairs slated to start this week.

“The contractor hoped to be in there (repairing), and now it will be next week. We had two days of rain … water went up.”

On Monday, Sept. 28, the water diversion process is to begin, he said. Water diversion will be accomplished by placing rip-rap dike structures up and downstream of the structure to isolate the side to be repaired from the moving water.

Redfield Street has been closed at the bridge since June after high water caused erosion to the structure, and the guardrails became unsafe.

In another water eroded structure, the Mason Street culvert is also slated for repair near Lafferty Lake in Mason Township. It floods about every spring, Bellina said, from the swamp on the south side of the road. He added the culvert failed this spring, and a bigger structure will be installed to take care of the matter. The street west of Calvin Center Road will be closed Oct. 11 for one week.

The commission held a public hearing on the 2009-10 proposed budget. It was explained by Manager Louis Csokasy that the budget next year includes the hiring of six part-time workers to help with summer paving projects. He said this year 60 miles of roads were resurfaced, 22 of those being primary roads with chip and seal. He said next year 48 miles of roads will be rehabilitated with more asphalt and less chip and seal. Next year plans call for a special group to handle service requests, he said.

On the revenue side of the budget, Csokasy said most of the $6.8 million is from projects. He said the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has a large road project it is doing. “We are ready and willing to do it.” Csokasy said.

The budget shows $6,812,223 in revenues and expenditures of $7,441,424. The projected deficit of $629,201 will be taken from the fund equity which has a total of $1.3 million.
Csokasy said there is a 2 percent increases in fringes and other administrative expenses. No more staff hiring will be done in the office. There are currently 10 office employees.
There is also a 2 percent cost increase built into the budget for inflation.

Csokasy noted that the bridge on Sink Road in Pokagon Township over the Dowagiac River was built in 1963 and is listed as a critical bridge. but has never been selected for funding. He said the Potawatomi Indians are hoping to get funding for it in 2011-12. If so, there will be 80 percent funding for the bridge, costing about $960,000. He said the road commission would probably contribute 20 percent to the cost, or about $200,000, and the township possibly could kick in 5-10 percent. “If we can get a $1 million bridge for $200,000, I think it’s a bargain,” he said. Csokasy added the bridge is weight restricted right now at 21 tons.

A contract was approved for Milton Township to surface Surges Road at $48,797.

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