Construction/Engineering

KCRC’s Engineering Division is responsible for the planning, preliminary engineering (survey and design) and construction engineering (staking and inspection) of all road and bridge projects on the KCRC system. The Kent County Road Commission recognizes the importance of Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Solutions and works with townships and local municipalities to allow the installation of street lighting, sidewalks, bike paths, non-motorized trails, trees and other street scape amenities, within the public road right-of-way.

The Engineering Division is also responsible for federal contract administration; soil erosion control; right-of-way acquisition; new residential and commercial public street design and construction oversight; bridge inspection and reporting; KCRC stormwater permit compliance and reporting; the issuance and inspection of all permitted activities within the County road right-of-way;  and the layout and update of the official Kent County road map.

KCRC Engineering construction projects generally fall within one of four categories:

New Construction
The construction of a new roadway or bridge where nothing of its type currently exists.

Reconstruction
A major change to an existing roadway or bridge within the same general right-of-way corridor. For instance, reconstruction would include adding a left turn lane to an existing two-lane road or constructing an existing roadway to all-season standard.

Resurfacing
The existing, deteriorated layer of road surface (and, in some cases, sub-surface) is removed and a new surface is applied.

Preservation
A treatment is applied to the existing road surface to extend its service life.

To learn more about KCRC’s past, current and future construction projects, please visit our Projects page.

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FAQ

Yes, residents will have access to the neighborhood.

There will be “open access” to driveways at most times during paving.  The exception is during placement of the top course of pavement in front of a driveway. To minimize wheel tracks or damage to the surface, traffic must be restricted during this process, which takes approximately 30-60 minutes.

Because paving is a moving operation, an exact schedule cannot be provided regarding when the crew will be working in front of a specific driveway. However, KCRC and its contractors will work with residents who need access to and from their driveways within the 30-60 minute period of top course paving.  When you see the crew nearing your residence, providing them with a “head’s up” of your needs will assist them in helping you exit safely.

To request the production of a street sign for a private street, please call the Permit Department at 616-242-6920.

There will be “open access” to driveways at most times during paving.  The exception is during placement of the top course of pavement in front of a driveway. To minimize wheel tracks or damage to the surface, traffic must be restricted during this process, which takes approximately 30-60 minutes.

Because paving is a moving operation, an exact schedule cannot be provided regarding when the crew will be working in front of a specific driveway. However, KCRC and its contractors will work with residents who need access to and from their driveways within the 30-60 minute period of top course paving.  When you see the crew nearing your residence, providing them with a “head’s up” of your needs will assist them in helping you exit safely.

Yes, residents will have access to the neighborhood.

Property owners may plant trees within the KCRC’s right-of-way and easements only after a permit has been issued by the Engineering Division. All trees planted must meet the specifications outlined in KCRC’s Tree Planting Policy

Seasonal weight and speed restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads trucks may carry and the speed at which they can travel. The intent of the restrictions is to protect the integrity of the road when frost is coming out of the ground. Normal legal loads must be reduced by approximately 35% and truck vehicle speeds reduced to 35 mph.

“All Season” roads are not subject to weight restrictions, which means that heavy-load trucks may drive on them all year. Non-all-season roads are subject to weight restrictions during the annual thaw period (late winter-early spring) to prevent damage to these roads. (When thawing occurs, ground beneath the roadbed can soften and make the surface susceptible to damage from heavy loads.) 

KCRC takes a proactive approach to save or remove trees that are impacted by a road improvement project. Informational meetings are held for major improvement projects during which property owners can meet with KCRC representatives to discuss the upcoming project and the potential tree impact. 

There are a number of reasons why crews may have to break for a period of time while working on a road project. A vital piece of equipment may have broken down and a replacement or repair is being addressed; work may be occurring in intervals, and the employees you see may have just completed their task and are waiting for the next step of the process to be completed; another crew member may be replenishing the necessary material or aggregate; or weather conditions may have changed causing a potential schedule change.  

Cold temperatures and wet/rainy weather affects the schedule of road work, not just day-to-day, but at times, hour to hour.  

Much of the material used for pavement preservation treatments and resurfacing is weather and temperature dependent and therefore cannot be applied until conditions are warm and dry. When one job gets postponed, it impacts both KCRC and its contractors’ schedules. Working together, KCRC and its contractors make adjustments to the original scheduling with the goal of meeting projects’ targeted completion dates. 

During rainy conditions, KCRC crews will shift focus to address jobs that are not weather-sensitive, including construction preparation like milling, and maintenance activities like ditching, drainage and brush work, and guardrail repair. 

The chip seal treatment is a cost efficient method of pavement preservation that helps prevent water from seeping into and softening the base of the road. This restricts compromising elements like cracks and potholes from forming. 

The tar-like substance is actually an emulsion of water and liquid asphalt which penetrates and seals small cracks in the existing pavement. The “gravel” is actually aggregate that sticks to the emulsion and, after rolling and sweeping, provides a skid-resistant surface to improve safety.  
 
As vehicles travel over the newly applied surface, some of the aggregate may come loose under the tires. When a motorist encounters a newly chip sealed road, which will be marked with "Loose Gravel" signs, the best practice is to reduce one’s speed and keep plenty of distance from the vehicle in front of you.  Click here for more information about how KCRC uses chip seal to extend the lfe of the road.

Because far more resources are dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of European road networks Let’s do a price comparison in US dollars by gallon: For a US gallon of gas costing $3.27, 43 cents of that goes to taxes. In England, the same gallon of gas would cost you $7.23 of which $4.63 accounts for taxes. While our roads are built to industry standards, we invest less in their timely preservation treatments and routine maintenance to extend their lifespan. 

It can be frustrating to see crews working on a road in better condition than nearby deteriorated stretches. There is, however, a reason for this – and it includes saving money over the long-term and extending the service life of our roads.  Think of your car. You can wait until the engine fails before taking the car to be fixed, or you can take it in for routine oil changes. With the routine oil changes, your car will not only run smoother, it will likely run longer with less costly repairs. Treatments on roads in good or fair condition work similarly. Rather than waiting several years until the road deteriorates to poor condition, when expensive reconstruction may be necessary, a lower-cost surface treatment can be applied, which will extend the life of the road at a fraction of the cost for structural resurfacing or reconstruction.  This practice is call “pavement preservation”. Therefore, KCRC employs a “mix of fixes” philosophy in maintaining the country’s roadway network that combines pavement preservation treatments, resurfacing and reconstruction. In doing so, KCRC can maximize miles in good or fair condition within the constraints of available revenue from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). 

The property tax you pay is used for your local and county governmental units and schools, not for roads. Instead, the majority of the KCRC budget is funded by the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF), which includes revenue from gas tax and vehicle registration fees. More regarding KCRC's funding sources is available here.

KCRC’s Strategic Plan outlines a blueprint for maintaining and preserving our road and bridge network. Projects for potential funding are considered based on this plan and in terms of pavement conditions, traffic patterns, public feedback, and how much money is available. 

Not all projects are eligible to receive federal aid funds and KCRC must balance the amount of money available with what type of fix is most appropriate for each roadway and bridge.  

 
The local road network is supported by KCRC’s partnership with townships and the matching program, through which KCRC shares approximately 50% of the cost of local road improvement and maintenance projects with the township. 

KCRC maintains 1957 miles of roads and 172 bridges within the County of Kent, exclusive of those that fall under the jurisdiction of the State, cities and villages. KCRC also provides routine and winter maintenance for 436 miles of state trunklines under a multi-year contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

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