Wayne County plans 112 road, park improvement projects

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans speaks to the press on upcoming road construction projects Tuesday at county road headquarters in Romulus.

Romulus — Wayne County's Department of Public Services announced its list of 112 road and park improvement projects Tuesday expected to affect 25 communities in the county.

The county announced projects involving 30 main roads, 59 local road maintenance projects and 10 bridge construction projects, totaling nearly $82 million. 

The parks division will take on 13 improvement projects in 2019 totaling more than $5 million, said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

"As the statewide road funding debate unfolds this construction season, we'll be out there doing as much as we can to maintain and improve our roads and bridges," Evans said during a press conference Tuesday at road department headquarters in Romulus.

"However, as every commuter knows, this work isn't enough. Until there is a long-term statewide solution, counties and local communities are only able to put Band-Aids on the program."

Crews are expected to resurface or begin reconstruction on 170 lane miles of roads in May and finish by October. Major road and bridge work includes:

•Resurfacing of Outer Drive between Seven Mile and Livernois in Detroit

•Reconstructing West Road Bridge at Frank and Poet Drain in Trenton

•Resurfacing Rotunda Drive and Michigan Avenue in Dearborn 

Construction will begin on the four Hines Drive bridges that have been closed. These will be supported with proceeds from the sale of the Phoenix Mill.

Wayne County park crews are expected to work through November on several major projects:

•$800,000 will fund renovations to the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center in Westland with improved classroom technologies and enhanced animal habitats

•A new boardwalk in the Holliday Nature Preserve in Westland will allow residents to explore a paved trail and boardwalk along the Middle Rouge River.

•A collaboration between Wayne County Parks and Motor City Mountain Biking Association will provide two mountain bike trails through Lakeview and Riverview in Hines Park. 

The county is responsible for 232 bridges, 43 different communities and 1,440 miles of primary roads, Evans said.

"Our roads and bridges are what they are because we have more trucks here and they're the oldest," Evans said. "The truth of the matter is, without a large infusion of cash, our roads are still going to deteriorate."

Evans said he's backing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's plan to raise diesel and gas taxes by 45 cents per gallon, which would give Michigan the highest fuel tax in the country and generate about $2.5 billion a year, with $1.9 billion in extra funding going toward crumbling roads.

"I give the governor a tremendous amount of credit to raise the gas tax simply because I haven't heard another plan," he said. "I hear people complain, but I don't hear a plan. ... Every year we wait for a fix, while folks talk about potential fixes, it's going to cost more to get out of the hole."

Residents are encouraged to download the Wayne County Connect app, available in the Apple Store and Google Play, to report non-emergency issues including street repairs, potholes and tree damage. Residents can use the app to take pictures of the damage, send it to officials and monitor the progress of work.

Beverly Watts, Wayne County Department of Public Services Director, says she hopes residents will help by using the new Wayne County Connect app to report issues.

"Unfortunately, being the largest county, we have some of the most expensive Band-Aids, and we have more than anyone else," said Beverly Watts, Wayne County Department of Public Services director. "We always ask our residents to be patient and know that everyone likes things to be done yesterday, but ... ask that they think of our workers' safety and their own during this construction season."

See the full list of construction projects slotted for 2019:

Twitter: @SarahRahal_