Drainage issues to remain

Storm water problems not focus of project

MARQUETTE — Work on the final portion of Marquette Township’s three-year Local Roads Rehabilitation Project has begun, though officials said the plan was never intended to address drainage issues, a concern reportedly expressed by several township residents.

Marquette Township Board Trustee Dave Wiegand, the board’s representative on its roads committee, said Tuesday that contractor Bacco Construction Co. was in the process of removing sections of residents’ driveways, and that crushing and paving of roadways being improved was expected to begin Wednesday. The work is projected to last through mid-August and followed by site restoration and clean-up efforts.

In 2014, voters approved a 1.5-mill levy for 15 years to finance the road rehabilitation project and future maintenance, but that work doesn’t cover drainage issues.

“There’s not money there and there was never a plan to go along and re-ditch the roads,” Wiegand said. “That’s a county project, and it was never intended to be part of this road project. So I hope the residents can understand and appreciate that those issues are going to remain issues and there’s not money within this project to address that.”

Township officials said they’ve been approached by several residents with complaints of increased amounts of water on their properties, run-off from recently improved roadways, or water remaining on the roadways themselves.

“The intention of the road project and the bit curb application that was put into this project is to keep water on the road until it can reach a point where it is supposed to leave the road in a low spot,” Wiegand said. Unfortunately in some cases that means private property.

“We cannot fix those problems without a huge millage, probably 3 or 4 mills over many years,” Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard said.

Girard said many of the homes in Trowbridge Park are already below the grade of the road, and as developers and homeowners have changed the topography and drainage patterns over the years, it’s contributed to the drainage problem.

“Many residents have taken the belief that they own the property right to the road surface, and they do not,” Girard said. “They do not own the property within the right-of-way. So when they’re filling in the ditches, when they’re building their driveways for their residences without getting the proper permits from the road commission for culverts, they are creating the drainage issue.”

The road rehabilitation work will also raise the grade of new roadways several inches, though curbing measures are expected to help channel stormwater away from residents’ properties for the most part.

“The nature of crush and shaping the roads is going to raise the roads 2 inches above what they were before, and if you consider the bit curb that we’re adding, that raises it 3 more inches,” Wiegand said. “So … we’re not lowering the bit curb at the driveway because we don’t want the water in the driveway. That makes it 5 inches higher than the road was when they started. That explains for a lot of the residents why (contractors are) cutting their driveways back as much as 8 feet, because they need to gradually taper that back into the road surface so you’re not driving over a speed bump into your driveway.”

The roadways to be reconstructed this year include:

≤ Huron Street, between North Vandenboom and Erickson avenues, and from Ontario Avenue east to Granite Avenue;

≤ Granite, from Wright Street south to Waldo Street;

≤ Norwood Street, between Vandenboom and Woodridge avenues, and from Granite toward the east;

≤ Center Street, from Vandenboom to Ontario, and from Erie Avenue east to township borders;

≤ Summit Street, from Ontario east; and

≤ Fair Avenue, between Vandenboom and Ontario.

Ryan Jarvi can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His email address is rjarvi@miningjournal.net.