Local, state authorities answer viewer questions about roads

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It is construction season, and work is being done on many road projects in West Michigan right now.

Thursday evening, we talked about local construction projects with Jerry Byrne from the Kent County Road Commission and James Hurt, Grand Rapids Public Services Director.

They answered viewer questions submitted on the WZZM 13 Facebook page.

Scott asked, "Why do they use the lowest bidder on road construction when the lowest bidder usually does cheap work? You get what you pay for right?"

Hurt says the city takes the "lowest and best" bid for road work, not simply the cheapest. He says he's generally satisfied and believes the city gets good work from contractors.

Sam wondered, "What can I do to get better plow coverage in the winter? Our street was plowed 4 times this last winter season."

Byrne says if that's the case for any resident, he or she needs to call the Road Commission. Given the amount of snow this past winter, Byrne said he'd be surprised if a road was plowed only four times. He reiterated, though, that if that was the case, and if it happens again, residents should call the county.

In Grand Rapids, Hurt said major streets were plowed 40 or 50 times, so if a city street is neglected, the city wants to hear from residents.

Later Thursday evening, MDOT's Jeff Cranson answered questions about state roads. One viewer asked whether authorities try to coordinate work so that the posted detour for a given project isn't undergoing construction itself.

Cranson said officials do try to keep that from becoming a problem, but unforeseen circumstances can develop that make it impossible to keep detours on roads that aren't undergoing any work.

Another viewer asked about when MDOT mows medians, especially since grass can sometimes grow so tall that it limits drivers' lines of sight. Cranson says decreasing funds have translated to less mowing, but MDOT or its contractors aim for a big mow before big travel weekends. Authorities also try to make sure they promptly groom areas where growing plants obscure vision.


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