Allegan Co. residents in 2-year push for road repairs

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 22:58:47-04

GUN PLAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A gravel or dirt road in West Michigan isn't anything out of the ordinary, but residents along 108th Avenue in Allegan County will tell you the road is in need of serious work.

"People speed through, if there's a kid standing on the side it's too late before you realize it," said resident Jarrod Austin.

Austin and dozens of others in Gun Plain Township say it's not just the bumpy ride home that bothers them, but the potential for their children to get hurt.  He says there are blind spots, uneven road and in the winter it's impossible to get up and down the hills without sliding.

However, it's still not easy to make a case about why this road out of all the ones in Allegan County should become a priority.  He and other residents have been trying for 2 years.

"The pushback is they don't want to hear the voice of the taxpayer," Austin said.

Larry Brown, managing director for the Allegan County Road Commission, said repairs to 108th Avenue would cost about $500,000.

"We got 1,800 miles of road in Allegan County, and over 600 miles of it is gravel," Brown said. "So this is certainly not an unusual situation."

Brown said 108th is shared by Gun Plain Township and Otsego.

"It's up to the townships if that's where they want to spend their money to improve that road or not," he said.

The bottom line, according to the road commission, is that a road that only gets 300 traffic counts a day isn't high on the priority list.

"This road is no different than any other county road," Brown said. "The parents will make decisions on how their kids will walk up and down county roads."

The county did submit that stretch of road for a state safety grant in 2016, but it was not picked to have the repairs done.