Archived Story

Bridge nears completion, fall projects scheduled

Published 5:15pm Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Cass County Road Commission issued an update on several road projects that have affected traffic throughout the summer. The update also included information of federal road projects scheduled for the fall season.

Submitted photo/ Crews use a boom to place the concrete deck at the Redfield Street Bridge site. The new bridge and new non-motorized launch is expected to open in mid-September. The cost is $838,000.

Redfield Bridge, in Cassopolis, is nearing completion as construction continues to replace the once wooden bridge.

Crews working on the new Redfield Street Bridge placed the concrete deck of the structure on Wednesday. The bridge, which cost $804,500, is expected to open in mid-September. The pre-cast concrete box beam structure will replace a wooden bridge that was built in 1959. The old bridge, one of only three wooden bridges left in the county, had to be closed for several months in 2009 for repairs.

The new bridge is 44 feet wide with a 60-foot span. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the new bridge’s opening, along with the dedication of a non-motoring launch that was built by the Cass County Road Commission for $33,500 on one-half acre donated by George Bucklen. Bucklen, of Bristol, Ind., is the great-great grandson of George Redfield, for whom Redfield Street is named. The Redfield Bridge is located east of Adamsville Road in Ontwa Township, in southern Cass County.

 

Narrow band radios to be purchased

The Cass County and St. Joseph County road commissions are partnering to purchase about 100 narrow band digital radios to meet a mandate by the Federal Communications Commission. The mandate becomes effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The new radios will be used by both road commissions’ crews and staff to communicate with each other when necessary during operations or in emergencies. The radios also are capable of transmitting information from the Global Positioning system (GPS) and data about equipment on the vehicles. The cost is estimated at $600 per radio.

“We are looking to move toward digital communications, which provide clearer transmission and higher quality,” Christopher Bolt, new interim manager of both road commissions, said. “These radios are capable of both analog and digital communications, making them more flexible, depending on conditions and how they are programmed.”

 

Seasonal chip and seal complete

Crews have completed 28.1 miles of chip and seal work for the summer season on portions of 25 local roads.

The preventative maintenance work cost $17,763 per mile, including pavement striping, for a total cost nearly $500,000. Under a matching program, the Cass County Road Commission paid for 30 percent of the work and the townships, 70 percent, or nearly $350,000. The work was contracted to the St. Joseph County Road Commission, which specializes in chip and seal work.

 

Several federal project finished, more scheduled

Two primary roads underwent reconstruction this summer with federal funding. Wilbur Hill Road from Mathews Street to the Dowagiac city limits was completely reconstructed by pulverizing the asphalt and repaving at a cost of $134,000. The money came from the small urban fund, which is competitive federal funding available for areas around Dowagiac. The road commission paid a 20 percent match, which was $26,800.

Planning organization funds that came through the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission were used to partially reconstruct a .75 mile stretch of Redfield Street, from M-62 to Brande Creek Drive in Ontwa Township at a cost of $254,000. In that project, the asphalt was milled off and re-paved. The road commission’s match was more than 20 percent because the cost of the project exceeded the amount of federal funds available. The match came to $71,000, which was 28 percent.

Reith-Riley Construction of Benton Harbor, Michigan, was the contractor on both projects.

A third federal project is scheduled for later this year on Indian Lake Road, Old M-62 the current M-62 north. The project is being bid through the State of Michigan and has an estimated price tag of $92,600. The 20 percent match of $18,500 will be paid by the townships of Silver Creek and Pokagon. Otherwise, road commission officials say, the project could not be done.

Four projects on primary roads are scheduled for September and October by the road commission crew.  Portions of roads that will receive one and one-half inch overlays of asphalt are Pokagon Highway from Oak Grove Road west; Dailey Road from Pine Lake Street south; Marcellus Highway from O’Keefe Road to Griffis Road; and Decatur Road from Dutch Settlement Street north.

The projects total $317,500. They are being completed with rural task force program funds, which stem from the federal government. The monies are available to rural counties with populations of less than 400,000.  No match is required for those projects.

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