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.

FAQ's

What roads and bridges are part of Kent County Road Commission’s network?

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).   

Why is this road being treated when our road looks much worse?

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…

How does KCRC decide what projects will be funded?

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…

I want to plant some trees along the road. Is that ok?

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. 

Is it true that Michigan spends less on roads than any other state?

Yes. Michigan spends about $154 per capita in road investment. The next closest state is Ohio at about $214 per capita - this equates to Ohio spending $1 billion more on roads annually.  

Why Are Crew Members just “standing around” the work site?

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.  

Why are European roads in better condition?

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. 

Why are you putting “tar and gravel” on our paved road?

The process called “sealcoating” is a relatively low cost 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 a pea-size aggregate that sticks to the emulsion and, after rolling and sweeping, provides a skid-resistant surface to improve safety.  
 
As vehicles travel over the new surface, some of the aggregate may come loose under the tires. When a motorist…

Will we be able to get in and out of the neighborhood during the road project? What about driveways?

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…