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Installation of Outdoor Warning Sirens in Dexter Township on Hold

Placements of the sirens and permitting issues delay the installation of the sirens for weeks.

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.

Marilyn Wilkie December 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM
More Road Commission screw ups. Didn't they review the information that was submitted to them? Why aren't they doing something about all of the illegal mailbox constructions along the roads? If someone ran into them they could be hurt too. Then again, they don't seem to care about all of the dead oak limbs hanging over the roads either. Go figure.
Scott December 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM
This sounds like familiar run-arounds with Burt Hoey and Jenny's.
Larry Stalker December 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Daniel I think you mean pole not poll
Marilyn Wilkie December 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The Road Commission hasn't hassled Hoey in any way, though they could for encroaching on the right-of-way I would think.
Harley B. Rider December 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
For the record, the contractor paid a fine for putting in some of the sirens before he had the physical paperwork in hand, though he did have oral approval. The Road Commission told the contractor to stop work and "go home" (Minnesota) on the afternoon of December 18th, as he didn't have the physical papers in hand, even though he hadn't yet put #11 or #12 in the ground and hadn't even drilled a hole. However, when I signed for the permits, they were dated December 17th - the day BEFORE the Road Commission stopped the work. As to the locations, the Road Commission had all the detailed location data and physically viewed the staked sites back on December 7th. Stay tuned.
Barbara Read December 22, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Where we lived before we moved here, our next door neighbors' two teenage sons were killed when the car they were riding in left the road by a few feet and hit a utility pole. There was no alcohol, etc., involved, and the driver was another teenager. It was nighttime, but only around 10pm. Had the pole been set further back, they would probably still be alive. It was a flat road without much traffic. The car split open during the crash, and I think their speed was under 40 mph. Moving all the previously placed poles may not be practical, but there's a reason for the set-back. I don't know about the mailboxes, but poles and trees are very unforgiving.
Paul Schneider December 23, 2012 at 04:50 PM
wow, when all else fails, blame the road commission. if you want better roads, pay for them. almost everyone votes for more money to buy land for more county parks that are used buy only a small portion of the county residents, but if something is wrong with the roads it is always the road commissions fault. AMAZING !
Roger McDonough December 24, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Marilyn and Scott - I think you have both missed the point of the article. The contractor (Front Line Plus, Inc.) installed poles BEFORE related permits were issued by the WCRC. The pole placement for permits that were approved last week did meet the county setback standards, but other poles were installed without approved permits. This is not a "Road Commission screw up". Who at Dexter Township is responsible for oversight of the project (i.e., the Project Manager), and why did that person authorize the contractor's to work without approved permits? That individual is responsible for wasting taxpayer dollars.
Marilyn Wilkie December 25, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Yes, let's abolish the Road Commission Old boy system.
Roger McDonough December 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Marilyn, Do you recognize that Paul Schneider is being sarcastic? He is not implying that this is the fault of the WCRC.

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