The bridge will be re-decked and the cement supports repaired by the Ottawa County Road Commission sometime in February 2013. The requested walkway on the east side of the bridge was estimated to be $838,000. The north and south approaches estimated cost is $462,000. Total: $1.3 million. Length of the walkway and approaches: two-tenths of a mile. This got my attention.
Due to the economy, prices have come down; costs now estimated to be $583,905 (walkway) and $462,000 (approaches). Total: $1,045,905. Ottawa County Road Commission explained with the lower cost, more grant money has become available; therefore, the township may be required to spend $50,000 for the walkway. The approaches are in question. According to Township Manager Gallagher, these may not be constructed for 2-3 years.
I suggested an alternate plan: construct a bike path from the north end of West Spring Lake Road from Hemlock to 168th to an existing path on Taft (runs east and west). A standard bike path cost is estimated at $190,000 per mile. The distance is 1.5 miles. Also, I spoke with 49 residents on 168th, including two subdivisions; all favor a bike path.
I was amazed at their response; and, after hearing their reasons, it became more apparent to inform the Township Board of the unsafe conditions on 168th, and that residents have been waiting years for a bike path. I believe the board has an obligation to the residents — provide them with a safe bike path. They have a need, not a want.
The alternative solves the board’s concern for a safe bike path and closes the 12-mile gap around the lake. The safe alternative is cost-effective. Township and grant funds are all taxpayers’ dollars and should be spent wisely.
— Janice Sluka, Spring Lake Township