Grand Haven Township is very frustrated with the continued closure of Lincoln Street.
At the beginning of June, the Township was told that the contractor would receive an exemption that would allow the “crushed” culvert to be replaced with the exact same culvert. This process was expected to take four weeks.
Unfortunately, a proposed change on the size and angle of the culvert prevented the use of the exemption process. The result is the culvert replacement was required to apply for a state MDEQ permit. The Township was neither consulted on this decision nor even informed of this decision.
Unfortunately, the necessary MDEQ permit was not even applied for until late June and the permit procedure could take weeks. Additionally, staff learned the developer failed to note the application was under the “emergency” status, and the MDEQ did not become aware of the emergency situation until Township staff contacted their office. Further, because state may require the “new” custom culvert to be “up-sized”, the contractor will not order the replacement culvert until after the MDEQ permit application is approved.
Best case scenario, the culvert will be replaced in three or four weeks. But, the process could take weeks longer. (On a positive note, the Township was informed that MDEQ staff will be on-site on Friday to inspect the culvert replacement project. And, if the MDEQ staff verbally agree to the culvert size, a new custom culvert could be ordered prior to the MDEQ permit being issued.)
Bottom line – the major difference between a city and a township is that a township has no direct control over the roads. Rather, the Township is required to work through the County Road Commission. In most instances, Grand Haven Township works well with the Road Commission and financially supports the street and road work being completed. However, with regard to Lincoln Street and the crushed culvert, the Township is frustrated by decisions that have further delayed the opening Lincoln Street.
Based on the “problems” that have plagued the Lincoln Street sewer project, elected officials have requested that township staff draft a policy that will require all future water and sewer projects within any major street right-of-way to be directly controlled by the Township with regard to the hiring and control of both the engineering firm and contractor. This is a process that is often utilized by cities and larger townships to prevent these types of situations.
As the Lincoln Street “saga” continues, the Township will provide additional updates.