Road problems in Alcona County continue to increase

LINCOLN Alcona County’s list of damaged roads is growing, as freezing, thawing and rain continue to wreak havoc in low-laying areas. Despite the first signs of spring, dry conditions are still a long way off.

Two residents who have homes on a dirt portion of Barlow Road south of F30 said Wednesday that their stretch is “super bad.” They came to the commissioner’s meeting Wednesday seeking help.

One reason, said resident Joan Nowakowski, is the ditches are clogged with debris. But grading the dirt road isn’t the issue.

“Barlow needs grading is only lipstick on a pig,” Nowakowski said.

Instead, she told board that trash trees, downed logs and stumps left by a logging contractor several years ago, need to be cleaned up. Nowakowski spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Another problem is the road is a boundary between Mikado and Greenbush townships, and officials said they sympathized with her.

“Any road on a township line is just a pain anyway,” Jesse Campbell, road commission managing director, said.

However, he said he would work on the issue next week and have crews shoot grades in anticipation of improvements.

Asphalt on paved roads also has been taking a beating. A portion of Trask Lake Road in Barton City is deteriorating because of standing water, officials said.

Meanwhile, since March 28 crews have been grading some spots and patching others where conditions are dry enough, Operations Superintendent Harold Truman said. Crews also have removed snow fencing along state highways and have repaired a culvert that was washed out.

In another road improvement project, the board approved a bid not to exceed $14,307 from Huron Engineering & Surveying for design of a portion of Bamfield Road near Glennie. The road work is scheduled to be done in 2014, with Curtis Township providing a portion of the money.

To make sure staff can get complaint calls as directly as possible, the board approved a $3,872 bid from Frontier Communications to replace the existing telephone system that was installed in 1987, Campbell said. The complete upgrade will allow greater sophistication in how calls are handled. If a manager is in the field, a caller will be automatically transferred to the manager’s cell phone. Messages also can be forwarded by email. However, the main phone number will always allow callers to reach a receptionist during business hours.

In other business:

* four employees will make a one-day trip April 18 to the AIS/John Deere plant in Iowa to look at road graders and other heavy equipment. They will be accompanied by two employees from the Alpena County Road Commission. The trip is being paid for by AIS.

* the board approved payment of $81,168.87 in bills

* approved purchase of a new pickup truck from a local automobile dealer in Lincoln

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.