Cassopolis to construct M-62 non-motorized pathwayPublished 2:42pm Friday, November 27, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Next year residents in the Village of Cassopolis will no longer have to walk along M-62 to go to the Cass District Library or to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. Plans are underway to construct a non-motorized pathway 8 feet wide to walk along, jog or ride a bicycle out to the county campus. In about two years, the pathway will continue westward to the Law and Courts Building, but plans are not available for that project at this time.
The Cass County Road Commission authorized on Thursday, Nov. 19 its chairman, Leroy Krempec, to sign a resolution to the Michigan Department of Transportation for funds to construct a path along M-62 from approximately 300 feet south of Hilton Street to approximately 800 feet west of Horne Road. The path will include concrete pavement, grading and tree removal and other related work.
The pathway has been discussed citing safety as the biggest reason for the project so people won’t have to walk along the highway anymore. Road manager Louis Csokasy said the road commission is the vehicle to seek the funds whereby 80 percent of the funds would come from the federal coffers and 20 percent would come from the state to the county.
“We are the conduit that allows us to get the funds,” Csokasy said. Part of the pathway is off the roadway and part is adjacent to the shoulder but never immediately adjoining the immediate roadway.
“It’s not uncommon to see kids walking from the library along the edge of the roadway to the village,” Csokasy said. “Now when this is completed, they can walk on the pathway to the village.”
In other pathways, an ad hoc bike path committee has been recently formed to come up with plans to make some less traveled county roads become accessible with bike paths. If this is done, the road commission will add signage along the designated roads. Information will be posted on the county’s Web site when plans are completed.
Chief Engineer Joseph Bellina III reported that all hurdles have been completed on the repair of the Redfield Street Bridge. He said there is $963,000 available for reconstruction of that bridge in 2012. He said this project is 80 percent federal money, 15 percent state money and the county will be responsible for 5 percent. He said the street will be shut down to put in the new bridge structure at that time.
“We are responsible for the design engineering and inspections,” Bellina said.
There are 27 bridges in Cass County. A number of bridges need replacing but the state money is not there, Bellina noted. The next bridge of concern is the O’Keefe Street bridge that was ranked 17 in all the structures submitted in a nine-county region.
Csokasy said the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is going forward with engineering plans on the Sink Road bridge in Pokagon Township. That bridge will be funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “Hopefully, that will be our next bridge in Cass County,” Csokasy said.
Bellina said he has been working on surface evaluation reviews for all local roads in the county, as it is required to do that every three years. “We are about 70 percent complete and will be required to turn that in next week,” he said. Ontwa, Porter, Newberg and Marcellus townships have yet to be completed.
Csokasy said the commission is looking forward to the delivery of the newly purchased grader in December. He said a Turkish individual purchased one of the turned in graders and will be sending it to Iran. Three graders were turned in toward the purchase of the new grader, which will be operated by a joystick. The net result of the purchase was that the seller will pay the road commission about $10,000 as a cash rebate on the sale.
It was noted where water was over the road on M-60 west of Cassopolis has been remedied.