Plans to install 16 outdoor warning sirens throughout Dexter Township came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday.
Construction crews with Front Line Plus, Inc., the supplier of the sirens, were asked to suspend installation immediately until the Washtenaw County Road Commission could approve permits for the siren poles.
"There has been some miscommunication with the contractor and the Road Commission," Matthew MacDonnell, senior project manager for permits and construction at the WCRC said. "Sirens were going up in locations that were undesirable or us before we could issue permits."
According to MacDonnell, the Road Commission had approved five of the 13 permits last week for sirens located near roads in the county's right-of-way, however, he said other locations did not meet the county's setback requirements.
"We like to locate public utilities 28 feet from the center line of the roadway for the protection of the traveling public," he said. "The idea is, if a driver were to run off the road, he could recover without striking another object."
Township Clerk Harley Rider said the decision to stop the installation of the sirens doesn't make sense.
"Driving through the township, I see plenty of utilities located less than 28 feet from the center line of the road. I'm not sure if (the Road Commission) is evaluating our application with different standards or not," he said.
Rider said he provided the county with all of the proper documentation, including permit applications, location maps, addresses of homes located near the sirens, and longitude and latitude coordinates for the siren sites on Dec. 10, well before the installation date.
"They gave us no cause for concern prior to the installation," Rider said. "We had assurances to move forward."
As a result of the miscommunication, Rider said siren 11, located on McGuiness Road, and siren 12, located on Fleming Road at Dexter-Pinckney Road, have been put on hold.
"Those are the two sirens closest to the areas hardest hit by the (March 15) tornado," he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, all permits were approved by the county. Unfortunately, Front Line Plus, based out of Minneapolis, will not be able to return to Dexter until January.
"It would've been real easy for the Road Commission to fast track the permiting process of the last two sirens and then deal with the location of the other sirens instead of telling the crews to pack up and go home," Rider said.
MacDonnell said the Road Commission does not intend to impede the project, however he said the county will re-evaluate the current location of the sirens and will send a letter to the township detailing which ones should be re-located.
"We understand the desirability for the outdoor sirens in Dexter Township, however in the process of approving the sirens, we don't want to create more hazards by installing polls too close to the road," he said.
Rider said no further action will be taken until the township receives notice from the Road Commission about the siren locations.