March 20, 2013 - A $161,621 contract to construct new safety paths along Seymour Lake and E. Drahner roads was awarded last week in a 5-1 vote by the Oxford Township Board.
Pro-Line Asphalt Paving Corp., based in Macomb County's Washington Township, will be doing the work, which will create pedestrian-accessible connections between the township and village.
A total of six bids were received for the safety path projects, the highest of which was $210,030.
Pro-Line submitted the lowest bid.
Although Pro-Line has not previously done any work for Oxford, township engineer Jim Sharpe assured the board the company's "qualifications and references indicate that they have the equipment, manpower and similar-related experience to complete the project as designed."
The Seymour Lake Rd. safety path will be located along the north side of the road between Fountain View Lane to the west and S. Waterstone Drive to the east. The project actually consists of constructing two new segments, totalling 1,350 feet, that will connect existing paths.
This path will enhance the ability of Waterstone residents to safely walk, jog or ride their bikes to the downtown area.
The goal is to eventually install safety paths all along Seymour Lake Rd. in order to give pedestrians easy access to Seymour Lake Township Park as well.
The 300-foot E. Drahner Rd. will run along the north side of the road between M-24 and Oxford Lakes Drive.
It will give residents of the Oxford Lakes subdivision the ability to ride or walk all the way down Drahner Rd.
Approximately $70,000 to $80,000 of the Seymour Lake safety path project will be paid for using Tri-Party Program funds, according to Sharpe.
The Tri-Party Program involves one-third funding from Oakland County, one-third from the county Road Commission and one-third from the local municipality. Projects are selected by communities, but they must involve county roads and be approved by the road commission.
The reason the township is able to use Tri-Party funds for a safety path project is because the county is requiring certain improvements be made.
"In order to put in the safety path, the road commission is making us add some curbing, repave (approximately 550 feet of) the road and add some storm sewer in a particular area (of Seymour Lake Rd.)," Sharpe told this reporter. The road commission is doing this because the safety path will be located about five or six feet away from the edge of the road, he noted. Sharpe made it clear the Tri-Party funds would be spent on these road improvements, not the actual safety path.
Trustee Melvin (Buck) Cryderman voted against the safety paths because he felt the Tri-Party funds should be used for other road projects.
"I don't think it's a very good expenditure of our money," he said. "We've got a lot of road projects that could use funding."
Treasurer Joe Ferrari, who's chairman of the safety path committee, noted the township received additional Tri-Party funds this year from communities, like Oxford Village, that were previously allocated monies, but didn't spend them.
Last year, the road commission announced there was $2.9 million in unused Tri-Party funds up for grabs.
"The reason why the county gave those (funds) to us – and the other communities that they chose – is (because) we could spend them," he said. "It's old money on their books. They want it gone this year. Our (safety path) project is one of the first ones that will spend that money. That's one reason why we chose it."
Cryderman asked why the township can't spend these extra funds on roads projects "that we have on our hit list now?"
Sharpe replied that his concern is he doesn't know if the township would have enough in Tri-Party funds "to do these larger projects."
"Some of those projects you have to save up for over time," he said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.