Gobles residents pressure county for road repair

Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 19:51:14-05

GOBLES, Mich. - Residents in Gobles are angry over how long it is taking to get a main stretch of road fixed in their city.

County Road 653 has about a one-mile stretch that was paved, but then last fall due to maintenance issues, Van Buren County converted it back to gravel.  The Van Buren County Road Commission is telling residents to bear with them, as relief is on the way.

“We want the county roads commission to commit to us that they’re going to repave this road as soon as possible in 2016," said Fred Cramer, a resident living along the unpaved section of CR 653. “They’ve been evasive, they’ve been annoyed with us visiting them and I don’t really care about all that - they just need to fix it.”

Residents say the road has been unpaved for too long, but the county says that leaving it unpaved was part of the plan.  They say they need the weather to dry out and it is planned for repair in late spring or early summer.

“Well unfortunately the folks that live on any of these roads, in particular on 653, the piece they keep missing is we didn’t intend to do that at the time," said Larry Hummel of the Van Buren County Road Commission.  "We’ve done this process for quite some time. Generally what we like to do is actually leave those sit for next season and come back the next spring to do our work.”

That may not be good enough for residents though, who say the road is damaging their cars and also causing harmful runoff to go into nearby streams.  The Michigan DEQ is planning a trip out to the area soon to also check on possible runoff issues, as the road sits next to several tributaries that feed into Lake Michigan.