County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Hayes Board Hears Road Commission Presentation



HARRISON – The May 14 Hayes Township Board meeting heard two reports from commissioners. The first, from Clare County Commissioner Gabe Ambrozaitis, included receiving a report on MMR response times; this year’s airport runway crack sealing and painting project, estimated at $48,000 [$8,000 would come from the county]; and that used runway lights had been secured from Pontiac Airport after it had replaced its lights with LEDs. Ambrozaitis also noted a motion for approving the Hayes Township Ordinance Enforcement contract with Clare County was on the next day’s BOC agenda. [That item was tabled to the June 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.]

The second report came from Dewayne Rogers, managing director of the Clare County Road Commission. He gave a presentation which he has been sharing with townships around the county, dealing with roads data, construction, materials and the funding which makes it all happen. He said 75% of the county’s roads are gravel, and that projects are done via a 50/50 cost split between the town and the CCRC. Using 2020 County Roads Association statistics, he said the total gross receipts for that year were $3,165,075,036. He also noted that of the 28.6-cent Michigan gas tax and 18.4-cent federal tax collected at the pump, 26.0 cents and 15.5 cents, respectively, go to funding of roads. It was also noted that since 1993, the purchasing power of the 19-cent federal fuel tax is down 45%, and that Michigan mirrors the national.

Rogers also spoke of the current legislative push to get rid of the gas tax and find another way to fund roads – adding that, in his opinion, they’re just scared because of the increase in remote work or electric cars. He also questioned how road monies could be captured from out-of-state tourists.

His presentation also included a breakdown of Michigan Transportation Funding distribution by county over the last three years, which showed Clare County receiving estimated revenues of $7,076,187.66 (2022); $7,340,862.26 (2023); and $7,544,325.29 (2024). Also described were project costs per township, and the amounts levied in road millages in 11 of the county’s 16 townships.

“Everybody wants either a pave road or a gravel road,” he said. “We spend a lot of time trying to piece as much as we can together, and use every penny that we get. But there’s a lot that goes into it.”

Rogers pointed out various projects which had been done: bridges, road widening, paving and more. He noted the county has 42 bridges, and is working on a culvert inventory also. Rogers said his goal is to have zero weight-restricted bridges in the county; that currently stands at three and is expected to be down to one by next year.

The question of materials arose, and it was noted that all the bridge replacement decking is being done using ultra high- performance concrete. That led to information about the various materials the road commission is using, in light of increasing gravel shortages. Rogers emphasized that the road commission does not use pit run gravel, but uses only tested 22A modified on Clare County roads, whether for maintenance or projects. He said the CCRC took the MDOT specification and modified/tweaked it to meet local conditions.

Materials also include paved road millings, limestone [which Rogers said is expensive and a dust nightmare], and the new product: slag aggregate.

Supervisor Dave Bondie who also attended, along with north road foreman Brian Coon, noted that the slag aggregate is extremely hard and requires the least maintenance. He said Freeman Township had tried it out and love it, because it doesn’t “slime up like gravel does.” Coon added that it doesn’t wash away, and Rogers said the dust is very minimal.

“Honestly, what we’re seeing and finding is it’s the closest thing to asphalt millings that you can find,” Bondie said. He also suggested that if Hayes chose to do the upcoming Ridge Road project using the slag aggregate, the township’s cost would rise about $8,000.

Rogers added that, as it is new, Clare is the first county in the state to try it on a road.

Township Supervisor Rick Jones said he had visited that road a week after it was placed, and reported it was hard as cement. Trustee Ernie Teall also had visited that road and reported it to be hard.

Perhaps the most basic message of Rogers’ presentation was the CCRC’s goal of working cooperatively with townships, cities, the airport, etc., to meet the transportation needs of the county.


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