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Reichow7120

A waste of Michigan Tax dollars

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Bare with me, I need to rant.

The town that my address is part of has the main street through town that is actually paved by bricks. The same red ones you would see on a brick house or a brick chimney. It's been that way for ever. For those of us that live around here and have to drive on it, it's always rougher than a cob to drive on and it's been completely redone once in the mid 90's from the ground up. It didn't hold up well at all.

Well the street in question is also a State highway  (M-99) so the state is responsible for what gets done with it in the maintenance department. The state a year ago approved to have the street redone. Great, right. Wrong, the historical folks got involved and it ended up going back to brick again. Brick on a state highway that sees a lot of semi truck traffic on it. This speaks well for longevity of the highway. 

This project supposedly has a price of $4.3 million dollars. Now it also includes the guter, water main and a number of other necessary jobs done at the same time. Then the bricks go in. However this project has turned into a giant boondoggle. Delays, cost overruns. The whole project was supposed to be done in mid November, The first segment of street was opened in mid October, the next segment mid December. The final segment they finally laid blacktop on it. Did a really good job at it. Here's the rub, the plan is next spring and summer they then plan on tearing the blacktop up and putting the brick down :angry:.

Meanwhile all the brick work that has already been done has already started to come lose. Bricks are heaving and actually popping loose and blowing tires on cars. Its rougher than a cob with a $4.3 million dollar price tag. This is after between not quite 1 month and not quite 3 months of use. In fact the state told the city not to scrape the snow off the street until they can figure out what to do with the bricks coming loose.

Now I'm not against historical preservation but I think a infusion of common sense is needed. Is spending over $4 million dollars on bricks on a state highway that sees a lot of heavy truck traffic and has already proven that brick doesn't hold up to that type of traffic the smartest thing to do? There is a considerable amount of people around the area that think this project was dumbest waste of money spent for the area in quite of while. The calls for blacktop are pretty loud right now. Not that the state or the historical societies will listen. 

I'm sorry for the long rant but after dealing with the detours all fall hauling corn and the huge amount of taxpayer money wasted for absolutely no gain except to appease a few people it has me a little hot under the collar.

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The highway should be current specification and the bricks have their place at a walking path in a local park.

Waste in g$#$&-$*$-!t doesn't surprise me at all. Gets worse every year

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48 minutes ago, Reichow7120 said:

Bare with me, I need to rant.

The town that my address is part of has the main street through town that is actually paved by bricks. The same red ones you would see on a brick house or a brick chimney. It's been that way for ever. For those of us that live around here and have to drive on it, it's always rougher than a cob to drive on and it's been completely redone once in the mid 90's from the ground up. It didn't hold up well at all.

Well the street in question is also a State highway  (M-99) so the state is responsible for what gets done with it in the maintenance department. The state a year ago approved to have the street redone. Great, right. Wrong, the historical folks got involved and it ended up going back to brick again. Brick on a state highway that sees a lot of semi truck traffic on it. This speaks well for longevity of the highway. 

This project supposedly has a price of $4.3 million dollars. Now it also includes the guter, water main and a number of other necessary jobs done at the same time. Then the bricks go in. However this project has turned into a giant boondoggle. Delays, cost overruns. The whole project was supposed to be done in mid November, The first segment of street was opened in mid October, the next segment mid December. The final segment they finally laid blacktop on it. Did a really good job at it. Here's the rub, the plan is next spring and summer they then plan on tearing the blacktop up and putting the brick down :angry:.

Meanwhile all the brick work that has already been done has already started to come lose. Bricks are heaving and actually popping loose and blowing tires on cars. Its rougher than a cob with a $4.3 million dollar price tag. This is after between not quite 1 month and not quite 3 months of use. In fact the state told the city not to scrape the snow off the street until they can figure out what to do with the bricks coming loose.

Now I'm not against historical preservation but I think a infusion of common sense is needed. Is spending over $4 million dollars on bricks on a state highway that sees a lot of heavy truck traffic and has already proven that brick doesn't hold up to that type of traffic the smartest thing to do? There is a considerable amount of people around the area that think this project was dumbest waste of money spent for the area in quite of while. The calls for blacktop are pretty loud right now. Not that the state or the historical societies will listen. 

I'm sorry for the long rant but after dealing with the detours all fall hauling corn and the huge amount of taxpayer money wasted for absolutely no gain except to appease a few people it has me a little hot under the collar.

How is the hotel or whatever they were going build downtown coming along? 

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Same silly stuff. I know a lot of people complain about waste and abuse in the military budget, some IMO justified and some not. Shortly before I retired from the US Army they wanted to renovate some buildings on Ft Riley. Beautiful cut limestone buildings dating back to the horse cavalry. No big deal, the idea was to preserve them and use them for whatever activity they were needed for. They had been renovated and were being used but were in serious need of updating. In steps the historical society. It was stipulated that any modifications be easily removed so the building could be reverted to their original state if so desired some time in the future. All new energy efficient windows had to match the size and look of the originals. And so on and so forth. I know that one building used as a barracks the Army had said would cost, in 1995 about 3.5 million to renovate and bring it up to current standards for a troop barracks. After the historical society got done the price tag jumped up to 6 million. There were about a dozen buildings the Army had requested funding to renovate over a 5 year period. Plans had to be put on hold and the Army had to go back to congress to request the additional funding or permission to cut the plan in half. The Army had proposed just abandoning the building and demolishing them but that too was nixed by the historical society. What a mess and in no way the fault of the senior officers or any other member of the armed forces. I don't know the final outcome but by looking at maps on the puter those buildings are still there.

The needs of the people need to come first. After all, we are the ones paying for this stuff.

 

Rick

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Lamar and Lajunta turned their bricks into the center medians. Lamars bricks just went away. But...bigger highway and all that

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Build a bypass road and let 'em keep their bricks.

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Local town is big tourist attraction and the street is asphalt but sidewalks are brick with granite curbs and benches, all very nice and a great compromise.

Someone has to step up and suggest a different approach to preserve character but be practical.

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2 hours ago, R Pope said:

Build a bypass road and let 'em keep their bricks.

This makes to much sence and would be too easy.  Common sence would have the state bypass downtown all together and change that part of it to a city street, then the tree huggers can do whatever they want.  Bet they would raise heck then cause customers would not come through downtown anymore.  Can't have it both ways.

ON the subject of brick roads, a new shopping center not far from Me built brick entrance sections in the road.  Within just a few years they were rutted and falling apart, ripped it all out and redid them three years ago.......anyone want to guess what they look like now??

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Michigan government spending time/money on a botched road job?  Sounds like our good ole gov't to me....I'm surprised that anyone even thought about working on the street.  Around here we are lucky to get cold patch.  

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We had the same issue here but they were willing to compromise and used stamped and dyed concrete, it has held up fairly well and is still nice to drive on but after 10 years of road salt it is starting to show it’s age. 

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Not just Michigan,Missouri has plenty of wasted tax dollars also mostly federal tax dollars with a 20% local match. They call them enhancement projects and they drive me nuts.

They did an upgrade to the main road to our farm widened the street ,added curb and gutters,new sidewalks and beautiful lighting sounds good right.

Then they take a nice 40' road and put a dang island about 12' wide in the middle of it and plant trees and flowers.

Problem is now you have a10' driving lane between the curb and the island, We have two rented fields one on each end of this mess, So i ask them how am i supposed to get my equipment through there, this is there answer,  drive over the sidewalk.

Now ladies and gentlemen i'm not an engineer, but i watched them pour that sidewalk it's 4" thick on top of raked gravel, my tractor and auger wagon weigh [i'm guessing] 45,000 # empty so now i drive two miles around to get from one field to the other.

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1 hour ago, from H to 80 said:

Problem is now you have a10' driving lane between the curb and the island, We have two rented fields one on each end of this mess, So i ask them how am i supposed to get my equipment through there, this is there answer,  drive over the sidewalk.

Now ladies and gentlemen i'm not an engineer, but i watched them pour that sidewalk it's 4" thick on top of raked gravel, my tractor and auger wagon weigh [i'm guessing] 45,000 # empty so now i drive two miles around to get from one field to the other.

Did they put it in writing when they told you to drive on the sidewalk?   That would be enough for some to waddle along crumbling up the sidewalk.  Then again others would just crumble the sidewalk regardless.  Personally I think that you are doing the "morally right" thing.  Even if it is a huge, inconvenient pain in the keister.

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In our neck of the woods, wasted money and govt go hand in hand, and is expected. Our little tourist town was studied and planned for a by pass starting in the 50's. It took them till 2010 to finally build, with all the businesses fighting it. Once completed, they realized it to be the best thing ever. How many long haul truckers stop to buy a dress, or log truck driver to stop for jewelry?  Then they paid someone to repair the 2+mile bridge, what a joke, it's like driving on a roller coaster, in a truck you hit and feel ever seem in the road as well as get pulled from side to side by the uneven top they put on it. If it were a private industry, they would be asking for it fixed or money back. Not the state. Another thing, at the end of the year, if they have "extra" money in the budget, they spend it quickly, like send the plow trucks out, blades down scraping bare blacktop in November when we have no snow yet. Their theory is, if you don't spend or go over last year's budget, you can't ask for more. Crazy thinking if you ask me

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i don't live in the city limits YET but i do pay taxes so i won't drive over and destroy our tax dollars just not much fore thought put into these things.

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Could be like Illinois, we pay to keep former governors in jail.....

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I decided to add a few maps to show the layout of the roads and explain it better.

Image 1 is the offending street highlighted in red.

With Albion being where the North and South branches of the Kalamazoo river meet and form the main river there is only 5 north/south crossings of the river to get to the North side of town where most everything is including the ethanol plant we haul to. We're not going to count the 2 East/West crossings because you cross the offending brick to get to a north /south crossing plus there is absolutely no way in H--- Albion college will allow a bypass anywhere near the campus. Options 1 and 3 aren't heavy enough for truck and bridge 5 is in so bad of shape it's only 10 tons now. That leaves the original route and the detour right now. Eaton St.

The 3rd image is the detour posted during the construction highlighted in blue. The street from Irwin Ave to Erie St is residential.  With cars parked along the street it turns it into a 1 lane wait for the other to pass affair. There isn't really anyway to widen the street without taking what little lawns the houses have and running the road right up to the houses. North of Erie is only better because no parking on the street is allowed. 

The last 2 images are of the only viable bypass route highlighted in green. I'll call it River St but it changes names 3 more times. Eventually you take a left on to Neauburg Rd (Also known as 29 1/2 mile Rd) so you can eventually meet up with M-99. But another State made problem pops up. About 5 or 6 years ago the state bought the Railroad tracks from Norfolk Southern so they could do what they want since the Amtrack Wolverine train between Detroit and Chicago runs on it. There dreams are eventually to make it a higher speed rail line. Well 2 years ago the state and Amtrack did a bunch of work to the rail line and all the railroad crossings from Jackson to Battle Creek. Well when they redid the Neauburg Rd crossing they built it in such a way now anything with anything low slung like hopper bottom trailers, bullracks, lowboys, and anything along those lines can't clear the crossing without bottoming out and getting caught on the crossing. Great planning. Even if this hadn't been done one other problem crops up. For those of us that still need to head North and West into Albion see Figure one. See where M-99 meets up with the red line. That isn't a overshoot on my part. The brick extends another block north beyond the M-99 junction. If you need to head North on Superior St like I would to get to The Andersons, you turn all those heavy trucks right on all those bricks and still drive a block on it. Recipe for a long lasting street right.:unsure:

If they need a brick street so bad would it not be a better idea to use one of the side streets without the amount of heavy traffic on it? 

 

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Back in 94, 95? I worked on the rebuild of the Superior Street bridge over the Kazoo.  Before that we built the 2 pedestrian bridges over the Kazoo on Erie Street, and after that the bridge over the other branch of the Kazoo farther east on Erie.

One solution for these types of historical preservations would be for MDOT to provide funding levels for a normal reconstruction and anything above and beyond that is the responsibility of the local authorities.  Of course that doesn't solve the issue of the incompatibility of brick and heavy truck traffic.  Nor does it make sense for a city's main street (Superior) as the primary route for trucks.  A bypass to the east would make sense but make it longer for east bound I-94 heading south on 99.

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I can tell right now it wouldn't be brick. Other than those that are hardcore Historians, everyone else knows it's a fools errand. It hasn't held up all the other attempts, what makes them think trying the same thing over and over again is going to work. Couple that to the fact that the City of Albion is flat broke. A lot of the surface streets are falling apart so there is no money for something frivolous like this. This is all a State ran operation.

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14 hours ago, BOBSIH856 said:

How is the hotel or whatever they were going build downtown coming along? 

That has actually come along decent. I know there was a job fair about a month ago that was looking for people to fill the positions. I can't remember when the opening is.

 

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2 hours ago, Reichow7120 said:

 It hasn't held up all the other attempts, what makes them think trying the same thing over and over again is going to work. 

Definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

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4 hours ago, Reichow7120 said:

This is all a State ran operation.

I guess if it were me I'd contact my State representatives.  I'm sure they had, or could have, some say in this project.  For Albion they'd be -

John Bizon (R), 62nd District

517.373.0555

DrJohnBizon.house.mi.gov
 

Mike Nofs (R), 19th District

517.373.2426

SenMNofs@michigan.senate.gov

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