High water still a problem

Published 9:16 am Friday, July 24, 2009

Niles Daily Star

CASSOPOLIS – High water problems continue to plague the Cass County Road Commission. On Thursday, the commissioners discussed the status of the bridge that is out on Redfield Street in Ontwa Township. They are aalso checking into another bridge on Brownsville Road in Calvin Township that has some tube problems.

The Redfield Street bridge continues to be closed after a team of divers reported findings at the bridge, and cost quotes are being sought. Chief Engineer Joseph Bellina III reported two estimates have been received to do the repairs, but one did not meet the Michigan Department of Environment Quality requirements. The DEQ is being contacted about it, he said.

It was also reported by Manager Louis Csokasy that the bridge isn’t safe until new railings are installed as the present ones are loose. Csokasy said the DEQ is planning to put in a dam structure at the bridge. There needs to have a section of missing wall replaced also.
Bellina said once the DEQ is satisfied with the construction plans, things will go forward, and the bridge will open under load restrictions.

Bellina said there are eight federal projects, and he has been working with the state all week to set up the first reimbursement programs. “We should be good to go,” he said.

He also reported it is planned to get the pipe for replacement this week at the Mason Street bridge in Mason Township. The road had been closed because of the high water problems in the Lafferty Lake area.

The Brownsville Street Bridge needs at least three pipes to let the water flow, Bellina said. A box structure would need to be 20 feet wide, but the box costs more than the pipes at $60,000 to $80,000. The bridge is not eligible for the critical bridge program. There are three pipes in there now, he said.

The commissioners recessed and toured Williamsville Street in Calvin Township concerning the flooding of a farm field and other drainage issues. Plans are to petition for a county drain district for the area.

Bellina also reported that information was received on the gravel roads in Marcellus Township. The township is considering rebuilding six miles. It is also looking at reverting Pioneer Street to a gravel street. If so, it will be the first one in the county, he said.

The second application of dust control goes on Aug. 1.

Csokasy said the road commission is continuing to visit township board meetings. He was commended by County Commissioner Gordon Bickel Sr. of Constantine for his talk at Porter Township who said he was well received.

At the same time, Chairman LeRoy Krempec commended the Boy Scouts for doing a lot of good work at Dr. T. K. Lawless Park and Russ Forest for building benches, piers and docks for their Eagle projects.