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Colby Road, from Riker Road to Dexter Townhall, will see some road work this year. photo by Lonnie Huhman

It’s expected to take four years rather than five for Dexter Township to reach its road improvement goals.

At the last Dexter Township Board meeting, a new agreement was reached with the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) for a list of road projects for this year. The meeting was held on March 19, and the Sun Times News followed up with township supervisor Karen Sikkenga to learn more about the agreement and what it means for township roads and residents.

The roads scheduled for repair this year include:

Dancer Road (from Island Lake to Township Line)
Colby Road (Riker Road to Dexter Townhall)
Donner Road (Island Lake to Colby)
North Lake Road (Hankerd to Township Line)
Quigley Road (Dexter Townhall to Madden)

Two of the higher costs projects are:

Colby Road (Riker Road to Dexter Townhall Road) work to include drainage improvements, heavy brushing, shaping the existing surface, and the application of 6 inches of 22A Gravel (C.I.P.) (approximately 6,300 tons) with associated dust control and project restoration. Estimated project cost: $ 148,000.

North Lake Road (Hankerd Road to Township Line) work to include drainage improvements, heavy brushing, shaping the existing surface, and the application of 6 inches of 23A Limestone (C.I.P.) (approximately 5,400 tons) with associated dust control and project restoration. Estimated project cost: $ 164,000.

The estimated amount to be paid by Dexter Township under the agreement during 2024 is $469,917.

As a point of clarity, Dexter Township partners with the WCRC for road work because all primary and local public roads in Washtenaw County located outside of city and village limits are maintained by WCRC crews.

“Regarding our WCRC contract, the contract was approved and I am thrilled,” Sikkenga told STN. “The Board of Trustees established a goal of bringing our local collector roads into ‘good’ condition over five years; with this approval, we will accomplish this goal within four years, a year ahead of schedule.”

She said the township was able to move more quickly for a couple of reasons.

“First, we deployed ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds one year, which allowed us to increase the Township’s contribution to the effort,” Sikkenga said. “The Road Commission helped us by increasing their match dollars in recognition of the Township’s high level of support. The Road Commission also completed the work at lower cost than originally estimated, thanks to economies of scale. I am tremendously proud of Dexter Township’s commitment to improving the quality of our roads. Our annual budget process allowed us to shift tree work to the fall, which is both less costly and better for the trees.”

With the completion of this major capital road repair effort, Sikkenga said future annual maintenance costs to keep the local roads in good condition will be much lower.

“We expect the annual cost to be at or below $100,000 for local collector road maintenance, with our high traffic roads (Wylie, Huron River Drive, and McKinley) getting more frequent treatments than the lower traffic roads,” she said.

She said repair of roads near the North Territorial/ Dexter Townhall Road safety project will commence after that project is complete.

“The township is not bearing the cost for wear and tear on those roads: funds were included in the project budget for impacted local roads,” according to Sikkenga.

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