Trustees pass motion to assess quality of Mission Hills roads

NILES TOWNSHIP — It is has been about two years since residents of the Mission Hills had the roads in their Niles Township subdivision re-paved.

During a Monday night meeting, the Niles Township Board of Trustees members expressed some concern that the roads are already facing repair problems. Trustee Herschel Hoese showed trustees pictures that he had taken of several areas of patched pavement in Mission Hills. He also brought a piece of pavement, which he said he removed easily with his finger, to demonstrate the thinness of the material.

Hoese motioned to retain Merritt Midwest Inc., a Berrien County-based engineering company, to conduct a study on the Mission Hills pavement to evaluate the thickness of the pavement and assess potential problems with the road. Trustees were divided on the topic. Treasurer Jim Ringler cast the tie-breaking vote and the motion passed 4-3. The test is approximated to cost $2,500.

Prior to 2016 construction, Mission Hills roads were in need of major repairs. The project was estimated to cost about $590,000. The township agreed to cover $150,000 of the cost. Through a special assessment district, levied out over 10 years, residents of the subdivision will pay an additional $150,000. The remaining roughly $290,000 was picked up by the county road commission.

Hoese said he wanted trustees and residents to be sure that they got what they paid for.

“There’s a couple of the roads that are in very bad shape,” Hoese said. “What are we going to do when they are five or 10 years old? We have got a lot of money spent and the people have got a lot of money spent.”

Hoese said county leaders were told by the road commission that the pavement should be 2 inches thick, but trustees said there seems to be some discrepancy about whether the pavement was measured in inches or tons of material.

Ringler asked Hoese what the township would be able to use the information from the study to achieve and wanted to know if he was looking to take legal action.

Hoese said the test could at least determine whether they needed to take any action, by providing them with answers about the quality of the road.

“If it were my driveway, let’s say, and I paid for one thing and did not get it, yes, I would sue,” Hoese said. “If that’s what it took to get the satisfaction, we don’t know what we have got.”

Hoese said he intends to call Merritt Midwest this week and initiate the test as soon as possible. He said he expects they will be able to begin testing the road in the next couple of days.