Task force awards funding

ALPENA – The regional road commission task force approved proposed projects for roads eligible for state and federal funding on Friday. The projects in Alpena County are for this year, as well as projects through 2017. The task force met to distribute up $3.7 million between eight counties and various transportation authorities. Alpena will receive funding for a pair of projects this year, one in 2014 and another in 2015.

This year a portion of Werth Road will be redone from Spruce Road to Hubbard Lake Road. The cost of the project will be approximately $375,000 with the road commission responsible for a $75,000 match. Alpena County Road Commission Managing Director Larry Orcutt said the plans approved for funding by the regional task force were those on display to the community during a meeting last month.

“We pretty much got the projects we presented to the public during the public hearing,” Orcutt said. “We were successful in moving up one of our 2015 projects to 2014.”

The second road project for 2013 will be done on Long Rapids Road from Haken Road to Bolton Road. the cost of the reconstruction job will be $550,000 with a match of $110,000 from the road commission. The 2014 plan also is on Werth Road where work will be done from Mud Creek to Spruce Road. Nicholson Hill Road is on tap to get repairs in 2015 from Spruce Road to Bushy Road. Orcutt said the plans that were approved could be done sooner or pushed back if need be. He said what year construction will take place depends on one factor – money.

“The projects can be altered and amended for each year, accept 2013 obviously,” Orcutt said. “We will have the option of moving them around to see where they fit best and how funding is. Really any project beyond 2014 is just an assumption. The MAP-21 program has not been extended yet.”

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century is a bill that was passed that provides funds from the Federal Highway Administration for road improvements around the country. If the program is not extended, or a victim of a budget cut, the road projects beyond 2014 could be in jeopardy.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689.