Source: Sherman Publications

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Bid awarded for Polly Ann Trail crossing signals

by CJ Carnacchio

March 16, 2011

Folks who walk, jog and bike on the Polly Ann Trail got one step closer last week to being able to cross two heavily-traveled Oxford roads in a much safer manner.

Township officials voted 6-1 to award a $47,983 bid to Rauhorn Electric, Inc., based in Macomb Township, to install four LED pedestrian crossing signals where the trail intersects W. Drahner Rd. (just east of Chirco Dr.) in the township and W. Burdick St. (near the Frosty Boy) in the village.

"I have checked the references for Rauhorn Electric and they're very good," said Keith Mayer, of Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc., the township's engineering firm. "They're a good contractor."

The only other bid received was for $56,700 from Metropolitan Power & Lighting Inc., based in Imlay City.

Each intersection will have two Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons designed to warn motorists they are approaching a pedestrian crossing by using an irregular flash pattern similar to emergency flashers on police vehicles.

Pedestrians will manually activate these signals by pushing a button.

"There will be a little sign next to the button explaining how it works," said Mayer, who noted the signals will flash for 15 seconds after the button is pushed.

Until activated, the signals will remain unlit.

Each signal will have a solar panel on top of it that will collect energy during the day and store it in a battery.

According to the bid specifications, the goal is to begin construction by April 29 and have the project substantially completed by May 27.

"Basically, once they start, it's only a three or four-day job," Mayer said

The signals are being paid for with $50,000 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) monies awarded to the township last year.

The EECBG program is federally funded and designed to help state and local governments fund projects that reduce fossil fuel emissions and total energy use, and improve energy efficiency in transportation, building and other sectors.

Bike lanes/pathways and pedestrian walkways are examples of eligible activities under the EECBG program because they're related to conserving energy used in transportation.

Oxford's project also qualified for the EECBG grant because the pedestrian signals are solar-powered and utilize energy-efficient LED lighting, Mayer noted.

There were $5,000 worth of engineering fees associated with the project, half of which were donated by Giffels-Webster Engineers, Inc. The other $2,500 was paid by the township.

The township also had to pay $2,100 for the redesign of four wheelchair accessible ramps, two at each trail intersection. These are a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"There will be one (ramp) on each side of the street where it intersects with the Polly Ann Trail," Mayer said.

All of the monies expended by the township for this project came from the municipality's Telecommunications Fund, which is comprised of the 5-cents-per-linear-foot that telecommunications providers pay the state for all the public right-of-ways they use. No township tax dollars were expended.