Understanding Local Road Repairs

road work sign - Copy

The start of road construction season each spring prompts questions from residents about how the Township selects, prioritizes and funds street projects. Below are the answers to these questions.

The Township is responsible for sharing the cost with the Kent County Road Commission to repair local streets. Federal, state and county agencies are responsible for funding larger road and highway projects such as U.S. 131 (federal), Plainfield Avenue (state) and West River Drive (county).

The Township works with the Road Commission to create a three-year plan that determines the most economical method to repair roads to stretch tax dollars the furthest. This includes planning for proactive pavement preservation maintenance to extend a road’s lifespan. Pavement preservation applies a lower-cost surface treatment to keeps roads in good condition before significant costs and construction are needed to fully replace the road.

Additionally, the plan also takes into account the Township’s annual utility projects and water main extension work as part of its settlement with Wolverine Worldwide, as these projects often require nearby roads to be reconstructed.

The Road Commission contracts with private construction companies to complete most of the road maintenance work each year. To keep these costs as low as possible, the Road Commission provides contractors flexibility on scheduling the work.  

These companies often fit these smaller projects in between larger road projects they are doing for the Michigan Department of Transportation.  Because of this approach, the Road Commission and Township cannot provide residents with a set date for when your road will be repaved. Contractors make a best effort to notify residents within a few days prior to working on your street.

The Township has significantly increased its investments to improve local road conditions. Since 2019, Plainfield has spent $750,000 annually on street projects, an increase of more than $500,000 compared to its 2016 and previous budgets. Current spending has been matched by the Road Commission for a total annual investment of $1.5 million into street improvements.

This year’s projects are expected to take place through the fall to repair more than six miles of local streets in the Township. For a map of planned road repairs through 2024, click here.

Updates on construction projects will be posted on the Road Commission’s website.