Road commission sets project proposals

ALPENA – The Alpena County Road Commission hosted a public hearing Tuesday to get public input on future road projects that will be proposed to the local task force that could be done with federal funds.

Each year year the government distributes money under the Federal Service Transportation and Authorization Bill and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that is used to upgrade and maintain roads in communities.

The road commission submits annually needed road work needs spanning three years and typically Alpena County receives about $400,000 to help cover the costs of making upgrades on the road system. This year’s proposals are for work to be done in 2014 through 2017.

Managing Director Larry Orcutt said a lump sum of money is allocated to the regional task force that consists of eight counties, which then distribute the money for eligible projects. He said the current goal for the use of the money is to keep roads with a lot of traffic in working order.

“We are trying to focus on our existing paved system and to keep the roads that aren’t paved currently in as good condition as possible,” Orcutt said.

The project proposed for 2014 is for work to be done on Werth Road from Spruce Road to Hubbard Lake Road, which would use most, if not all, of the years allotted federal funds, and in 2015 the proposed work would be a resurfacing project to Nicholson Hill Road, west of Spruce.

Orcutt said the Nicholson Hill Road job is large and would eat up about 2 1/2 years worth of the federal grant funds. He said it would begin on Nicholson Hill Road from Spruce Road to Bushey Road in 2015 and from Indian Reserve Road to Wolf Creek Road the following year.

He said a portion of the 2017 funds also could be used to complete the Nicholson Hill Road project, before moving on to some work on Long Rapids Road. Orcutt said it has been many years since the roads in the proposed projects have had significant work done to them and it is needed badly.

“The route we are looking at on Nicholson Hill Road we’re looking at resurfacing was originally paved in 1973, so it is well overdue,” Orcutt said. “The portion of Long Rapids from Collins to M-65 was constructed in the mid 1970s, so that also needs to be done.”

In years past, money could be carried over from year to year if a job was not done. Orcutt said that will no longer be the case. A list of alternate projects also will be submitted to the task force and any money left over could be committed to the other projects in any of the counties. Among the Alpena County requests are Posen and Carr roads to the county line and a half mile stretch of French Road just south of Bloom Road to Lacomb Road.

The task force is scheduled to meet on Friday when the determination of the fund distribution will be determined. There was no public comment or correspondence during the public hearing.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at