Pavement quality report shows strides in the right direction
Mike Woods (left), regional planner for the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and Pat Harmon, Charlevoix County Road Commission manager, presented a report to the county board of commissioners last week on pavement quality in the county. (AEBRA COE/NEWS-REVIEW / April 15, 2013)
The Northwest Michigan Council of governments, in cooperation with county road commissions and the Michigan Department of Transportation, heads out annually on the roads in a 10-county region to evaluate pavement quality, identify needs and offer transportation planning assistance to local governments.
Mike Woods, a planner for the council, reported the results of the most recent survey to the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners last week.
Roads that are eligible for federal funding based on traffic volume have improved in the county. The roads were rated from one to 10 and then given a designation of poor, fair or good.
The number of miles of roads that improved from a poor to fair rating in the past year went up more than almost any other county in the region, reported Woods. Eight percent of roads jumped from poor to good and more than 10 percent went up one quality category.
"That is among the top within our 10-county region," he revealed.
"The one thing that stands out to me is that the number of miles in good category have been increasing while the number of miles in the poor category have been going down," Woods said.
The council has data going back to 2008. Currently, the number of roads in poor condition in Charlevoix County are the lowest they have been since 2009. Conversely, miles of roads in both the fair and good categories are the highest they've been in the past four years.
Half of the county's federal aid roads are in fair condition, 20 percent are good and 30 percent are poor.
"It comes back to the road millage. That's the major factor," said commissioner Chris Christensen upon hearing the report. "There are a number of counties going the other way because they don't have the same set up we have here."
"If we didn't have this millage we'd be off the scale in the other direction bad," agreed road commission manager Pat Harmon.
Several township millages have also helped out, added commissioner Ron Reinhardt.
Charlevoix County voters passed a 15-year road millage five years ago and 11 out of 15 townships in the county have road millages.
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