Archived Story

Pioneer Street near Marcellus first in Cass County to revert to gravel

Published 9:10am Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – It’s been a long time since Pioneer Street in Marcellus Township has been improved east of M-40. Part of it will get a new surface yet this fall – a graveled surface.

According to Louis Csokasy, Cass County Road Commission manager, Pioneer Street had a graveled surface until part of it was paved in 1987.

But since that time, the road hasn’t been resurfaced and is in deteriorated condition.
This is the first road in the county to get ground up and returned to gravel, he said.

The road was originally paved in 1987 to Hemlock Road. Then, from Hemlock to Miller it was paved in 2001. From Miller to the St. Joseph County line it was resurfaced in 1996.
The cost of the one-mile stretch to Hemlock will be borne by the road commission at about $9,000, Csokasy said. There are potholes and bad sections with no plans to resurface it so it was determined to revert it to gravel.

Ann Webb, Marcellus Township clerk, said the township doesn’t have the money to resurface the street so as long as it is hard-packed it should be alright.

Marcellus Community Schools bus garage Superintendent Allen Shearer said Pioneer Street isn’t in any worse shape than any other road.

It’s a problem of the money not going where it should be going with prices going up that hinder road improvements.

Cass County does a nice job of grading roads so it shouldn’t be a problem getting buses up and down the road.

He said the bus goes a short distance on a gravel road into Kalamazoo County, and the road is well maintained. “It should be okay. All the other (gravel) roads are nice.”
Pioneer Street on the other side of M-40 to the west will receive three inches of new gravel also this fall from Stevens Street to Burlington Road at a cost of $26,113 with Marcellus Township kicking in $15,668 of the cost.

In other matters, road commission workers will be more visible to motorists since they will now be wearing iridescent yellow vests.

Road Chairman LeRoy Krempec said this is now a requirement since workers often work on the road edges and are walking around trucks and equipment.

He said he checked into safety hats to be worn in the garage area, and it was determined that in some instances, the hard hat is in the way when working underneath equipment, and a hat will be worn when needed.

Trustee Roger Bowser said he would like to see cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) taught to workers and the purchase of an automatic defibrillator for the road commission headquarters.

The matter is being checked into by the safety committee.

Krempec discussed the recent $9 million parks improvement plan for the Dr. T. K. Lawless Park located on Monkey Run Street east of Vandalia.

He mentioned that the plan is an “over-priced wish list.” He said he is not sure if the agency which drew up the plan had the community in mind. “It was extravagant.”
He indicated it will be a long time before anything will be done with only a $160,000 parks budget.

He said the parks are moving in a good direction, though.

Csokasy also reported on a three-year plan presented to Calvin Township.

He said Calvin spent $17,000 on dust control this year. We believe they need to spend $135,000 to $139,000 on road improvements.

“That’s a big gap,” he said.

Csokasy reported that surfacing to Surges Road in Milton Township is being worked on to get done this year.

The crew paved 17.6 miles of township roads, 5.35 miles of primary roads and chipped and sealed 22 miles.

He also reported that the crews are trying to get in six federal projects. There are seven projects, but one can go in the spring, he said.

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