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Safety paths in township continue to expand

By Dana Casadei and Lisa Brody


Proposed routes for the 2023 Jan Roncelli Safety Path program in Bloomfield Township were unanimously approved by the board of trustees at their meeting on Monday, September 26, along with approvals to award the contract to build the safety paths, as well as approving a grant for the safety path at the intersection at Franklin, Telegraph and Square Lake.


The board of trustees had previously approved the proposed routes for the 2023 Jan Roncelli Safety Path program at the board of trustees meeting on February 13, 2023. At that meeting, staff presented the selected routes for the 2023 program, which included the west side of Lahser Road from Maple Road to Quarton Road; along the east side of Franklin Road between Kendry Avenue and Fremont Street; and also along the west side of Telegraph from Humphrey Avenue to Orchard Lake Road, tying into the Clinton River Bike Trail.


Since gaining the approval in February, the engineering and environmental services division decided to take another look at the third route proposed, ultimately deciding to revise that option, specifically the wooded area within the “paper road” wooded lot that leads onto Lafayette Avenue, due to concerns about pedestrian safety. Board members inquired into easements, the route and pedestrian safety, but ultimately unanimously approved the route as proposed.


The engineering and environmental services division then met with members of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc. (HRC) in September, coming to the board of trustees on September 26 with the three route options that will connect pedestrian access to the Clinton River Trail. 


While there was no official motion, trustees eliminated two of the proposed options due to the proximity to adjacent homes, as well as the impact and conflict it would have on existing topography, determining the best option was to go with the “paper road” wooded lot route, noting the lower cost and construction.


“It’s the least expensive by about 60 percent and the first option just isn’t very attractive,” trustee Neal Barnett said. “I think option two would be a more pleasant walkway.”


The selected route will have LEED lighting added to the area, some tree clearing to not only address the safety concerns but also open up the area without taking away any character of the neighborhood. 


“I appreciate the concern about going through the wooded area but personally, I would definitely favor that,” said trustee Valerie Murray. “I think it would be aesthetically pleasing. I think it would be safer, it would certainly be less expensive, but by widening that path and with the lights, it would certainly improve safety. I’d be curious to go walk it sometime because it sounds like it would be a pretty area to walk through.”


The selected option’s estimated cost is $953,000, and will need temporary grading or permanent easements along Telegraph Road, north of Humphrey Avenue and along Lafayette Avenue and Maward Avenue. Approval will come to the board at a later meeting.


Trustees did award a contract to Italia Construction Inc., for the 2023 Jan Roncelli Safety Path Program, for a total of $1,277,425.62. Italia is currently the contractor for the 2022 Jan Roncelli Safety Path construction, the 2023 Safety Path Repair Program, and the 2023 Safety Path ADA Ramp Improvements, and has worked on many other safety path construction projects in the past.


Trustees also approved an easement for a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant for the safety path intersection of Telegraph and Square Lake. The TAP grant had previously been approved by trustees at their August 23, 2021 meeting. Trustees were informed by Corey Almas, director of ngineering and environmental services, that over the past two years staff have worked with HRC to complete the necessary right-of-way acquisition services to facilitate project construction.


“At this time all 10 easement acquisition agreements have been signed for a total fee owed of $515,942 to the property owners in order to secure the easements,” Almas said. “The easements were reviewed by HRC, EESD staff and our legal department. However, until the funds have been distributed, regardless of the signed agreement, the easements are not considered final.”


The board unanimously approved the easement acquisition and disbursement.

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