By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.- Today about two miles of a primary township road are smoother, safer and finally done.
Earlier this month, at cost of $5.4 million, the process of paving Barron Road between Groveland to Grange Hall was completed and open to traffic.
“The road looks amazing,” said Bob DePalma, township supervisor. “The section of road is part of the only primary road going north and south through the township.”
In 2019 the township board of trustees voted to pave a one mile section of Barron Road, then approved an addition mile when the funding became available. The federal aid funded 80 percent of the project, the Road Commission for Oakland County and the township split the remaining 20 percent of the cost.
“They (RCOC) pave about one mile of road in Oakland County every year and there’s about 700 miles (of unpaved road) to choose from,” said DePalma. “It’s a long laborious process so this opportunity to get this (additional mile) squeezed in here is a good deal for the township.”
There’s about $3 million in the township infrastructure fund, where the $530,000 had been set aside for the project, he said. The infrastructure account, established in 2009, includes funds earmarked for projects such as road paving, property development and emergency reserves. A transfer from the infrastructure account requires board approval.
The extra money for Barron Road was made available from the Local Federal Fund Exchange program, a County Road Association-developed program that allows a county road agency, like the Road Commission for Oakland County to sell its highly-regulated federal Surface Transportation Program Rural funds for more flexible non-federal dollars to another county road agency at a mutually agreed upon rate.
“They want to pave the whole road in 2021 and it will be insurmountably saver then it is now,” he said. “There were plenty of hills and dips on the Barron Road. A couple of them were really high and to meet the federal aid requirements they try to bring the high spots down as low as they can. It will now be a much safer road.”
To meet the federal standards some trees were cut along the road and low spots filled in to improve sight lines of drivers.
Jeff O’Brien, design engineer for the RCOC along with other representatives attended a November 2019 meeting for residents that live on Barron Road or that would be impacted by the project. Included in the project are a center turn lane at Grange Hall and Barron roads and a mix of shoulders, curb and gutters.
Barron Road carries about 840 cars per day.
“The road (qualifies) for rural funding in the county,” said O’Brien. “Barron Road is a Primary road on the county paving plan for past two decades and was a priority for the township. We have a very small rural area in the county where the (federal) funding can be used.”
Federal funding is set for the Primary roads, like Barron goes from the south side of the township to the north side, he said.
A Primary Road is a designated by state and federal officials.