Road commission gives work update

ESCANABA — Delta County Road Commission (DCRC) Director Jody Norman shared road information with Delta County township officials during the 2019 Township Spring Meeting Tuesday. Each official was provided additional information on their individual township’s road ratings by Norman.

The DCRC spent $1,100,000 on winter maintenance in 2019. According to Norman, November and December were easier months and saved the budget.

“If December was tough, we would have seen a lot more spent on winter maintenance,” said Norman. “I was expecting to see the dollar spent a lot higher than it was.”

In 2018, there were 72,864.6 tons of gravel hauled across townships, and township projects cost $937,609. There was $1,163,569.26 spent on paving throughout townships and the DCRC recouped $1,709,000 from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Bichler Gravel and Concrete Company is currently working with the DCRC in building small bridge structures that Norman believes will save roughly 30 percent in cost when creating the structures in-house. They are designed and created according to MDOT specifications.

“We will be able to build structures cheaper, better and faster,” said Norman.

He is focused on keeping as much work in-house as possible. In five years the DCRC has become more efficient and self sufficient in its work, according to Norman.

The DCRC will be using aluminized culverts in the future. The culverts last 40 to 50 years compared to galvanized pipe that lasts 10 to 20 years. In the past two years, a high density plastic pipe has been used by the DCRC and they are very impressed with the quality of the pipe.

“We get it from Green Bay,” said Norman. “To sell it they asked us to try to break it. We couldn’t do it.”

Two chloride trailers and two new gravel trailers were added to the fleet. Norman was unhappy with the quality of chloride received from a vendor. Using the new trailers, the DCRC will spread chloride themselves and control the quality of chloride by not using the vendor.

Over the winter, the District 1 garage experimented by adding chloride to sand instead of salt. According to Norman, the product worked well and didn’t freeze in the spreading machines. They found adding chloride to the sand kept the sand on the road and stopped it from blowing away. The sand to salt ratio is four to one. Norman said the price of sand and chloride will be cheaper than sand and salt.

Nancy Roseman, a new engineer on staff, will design and submit work on projects as well as apply for grants. The DCRC is sharing her time with the Schoolcraft County Road Commission, which is under contract to pay 26 percent of Roseman’s salary.

Norman and the DCRC invite everyone to an open house at the DCRC complex on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone will be able to tour the facility and refreshments will be available. The complex is located at 3000 32nd Ave. N. Besides the web site, the DCRC has a facebook page that has additional information.