A portion of Tri-party funds will be used to mitigate significant traffic delays on Crescent Lake Road at the intersection of Highland Road (M-59) in Waterford, where a right-turn lane will be installed.
The Waterford Township Board of Trustees voted to approve the measure at its Monday, Feb. 14 meeting.
In effect since 1989, the Tri-party program allows local communities to decide the nature of annual projects to be funded equally by the RCOC, a participating municipality and the county. Such projects usually involve small-scale work, such as widening intersections, adding turn lanes and widening roads. Money is allocated to participating communities based on road mileage and the number of accidents occurring annually in the municipality. Most municipalities are allowed to accumulate Tri-party funds over a number of years for larger projects.
The funding for the Crescent Lake Road improvement comes on the heels of a 2008 repaving project on Walton Boulevard between Clintonville Road and the eastern Waterford Township boundary line. Originally this construction was programmed by the RCOC as a resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation project with the majority of the costs being covered by federal funds. However, federal funding was unavailable until 2011 and the condition of the road surface was so deteriorated that the Waterford Township board voted to pre-fund the project three years early by using Tri-party program dollars.
“At the time, Walton Boulevard was in extremely bad condition and we had numerous complaints of people blowing out their tires on that stretch, so the board authorized the use of Tri-party money because the project couldn’t wait,” Building and Engineering Director Doug Bradley said.
Despite Oakland County scaling back on the Tri-party program, it has agreed, along with RCOC, to allow the federal reimbursement to be used as Tri-party funding for other eligible roadway improvement projects in the township such as the one on Crescent Lake Road and M-59.
“Oakland County isn’t funding Tri-party anymore, so essentially the possibility of getting money doesn’t exist,” Bradley said. “Basically all municipalities have spent their Tri-party money, but Oakland County along with RCOC and Waterford agreed to leave the shares from the Walton Boulevard project for use.”
Oakland County’s current budget capped Tri-party at $1 million, down from $2.5 million in past years, but for fiscal year 2011-12 it has been eliminated completely.
“It’s not included in future year budgets,” said RCOC Spokesperson Craig Bryson. “The assumption is that it’s less likely to happen in the upcoming year because there’s less money in the budget, but that could change depending on how administration sets it up.”
Recently the federal funds for the Walton Boulevard project were released, freeing up a total Tri-party reimbursement of $771,360 for Waterford Township of which it receives a direct reimbursement of $257,120.
The decision to make the Crescent Lake Road project a priority is based on several traffic studies that indicate the severity of traffic congestion could be reduced by installing a right-turn lane. The RCOC reviewed the proposal and determined that the project would quality for Tri-party funding and can be constructed within the existing right-of-way.
The total estimated project cost would not exceed $253,500.
Waterford Township will be using $84,500 of its federal reimbursement toward the Crescent Lake Road project. By installing the right-turn lane, it will become a safer intersection for motorists and emergency vehicles by decreasing the length and time that fire and police vehicles are forced to travel southbound against traffic.
“Right now when fire or police are dispatched, they only have one lane so another thoroughfare is a good thing for public safety,” said Treasurer Margaret Birch.
The remaining surplus will be used at the township’s discretion for future road improvements.
The project is expected to be completed in the upcoming construction season.