Webster Township is planning to fix a dangerous part of Walsh Road
Upgrading a section of Walsh Road and thinking about emergency sirens.
At its May 17 meeting, the Webster Township Board added another project to this year’s road improvement plan. By a 6-0 unanimous decision, with one board member absent, the township board approved a plan to help pay for improvements on Walsh Road.
The board voted to increase the township’s road budget from $430,000 to $530,000 and then add the Walsh Road project. Township supervisor John Kingsley said the board agreed to fund the improvement of Walsh, from Huron River Drive to Mast Road, for $338,600.
The project agreement is between the Washtenaw County Road Commission and Webster Township to do improvements on Walsh Road, from Mast to Huron River Drive, work to include “tree cutting, roadside berm removal, ditching, culvert replacements, mailbox relocations, shaping the existing surface, the application of 8” (C.I.P) of 23a limestone (approximately 8,700 tons) with associated dust control and project renovation.”
Township treasurer John Scharf told the Sun Times News in follow up to the meeting that the board voted unanimously to upgrade Walsh, in part because a representative from the Washtenaw County Road Commission described a portion of the road as “very dangerous.”
At previous township meetings, residents who live off of Walsh expressed concerns about the road’s condition and safety.
One issue that hampers the township from fixing all of the roads is funding. Scharf said with the addition of this section of Walsh the township’s total spending committed to gravel road maintenance is $521,332 for this fiscal year.
He said, “That level of spending is unsustainable with our current revenue.”
After a recent previous meeting, Kingsley said, “Our roads are owned by the County, not by the Township and are required to be maintained by the County. We, as a Township, receive no funding for road upkeep or repair. The voluntary improvements made by our Township come out of our general fund.”
Scharf said he would encourage readers of The Sun Times News to ask every candidate running for the Michigan legislature, if elected, “what do you intend to do about local gravel road funding?”
Webster is bearing 100 percent of the cost of the Walsh Road project. The township used all of the county contribution on previous projects.
The discussion about emergency sirens centers on giving coverage to areas that need it. Kingsley said they are going to ask both the Metroparks and Independence Lake Park if they are interested in putting up sirens.
According to the township, the Washtenaw County Sheriff Emergency Services Division is responsible for the activation of 88 designated outdoor warning sirens throughout the county. The sirens are triggered when appropriate by the county, but they are maintained by local governments under agreements.
The siren could be activated if there is a tornado warning.
This discussion will continue next month at the June 21 township board meeting.