LINCOLN - The Michigan Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Quality, and engineering firm AECOM are planning to move forward with a plan to excavate thousands of pounds of contaminated earth beneath a stretch of Hubbard Lake Road in front of Smokey's Bar, though they have just started the bidding process and will not begin work until after Sept. 1. DEQ has not specified the nature of the contamination.
Following a meeting with the Alcona County Board of Road Commissioners on Wednesday, Managing Director Jesse Campbell said the project will require no expense from the road commission or Caledonia Township, though the road commission must approve and maintain any detours. He had rejected DEQ's first proposal for 23- and 36-mile detours as completely impractical and offered only two alternatives: make Anderson Road suitable for traffic by applying about $60,000 worth of gravel, or keep one lane on Hubbard Lake Road open to allow through traffic.
"I already informed them that, whatever way it goes, there is no funding available for helping to improve that roadway, so that has to be (part of) the cost that's going to be put into the bid," Campbell said. "In the bid, they have to bid adequate traffic control around for a detour, or adequate traffic control for the project."
DEQ will determine a course of action based on the bids it receives, and once it chooses a contractor, it will have to follow and pay for one of those options.
In other business:
"Our radios just aren't as good as they used to be. There are a lot of dead areas, and our cell phones still work. It was a very, very big issue, and I know there are a lot of mixed emotions on it, but what it is now and what it was 20 years ago is totally different," he said. "I think it's important that technology is changing every day, and we need to stick with that. We have to utilize that technology, so we're still keeping that open."
Using a cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle is legal as long as the person is not holding the phone and can turn it on or off with a single touch. It is also legal to use a phone if the vehicle is not on and safely parked.
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.