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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Houghton road conditions improving

Houghton’s local roads construction came in under budget, but was still an impressive million dollar-plus outlay this year. The effort was worth it, according to the most recent PASER review. The Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system involves a visual inspection of surface conditions by a trained specialist.

Roads rated good increased by 40 percent since 2019. Outside of the investment made by the city, another factor in the results is the fact that the last evaluation came on the heels of the Father’s Day Flood, before many repairs had been made. Those rated in poor condition dropped by 27 percent.

Avenues rated very poor stayed fairly constant. It has been between 10 and 15 percent of the 35 miles of city pavement under the purview of Houghton’s municipal government for many cycles now. Manager Eric Waara says the system is a subjective one, and there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which streets get fixed first.

One of the questions, like you mentioned, volume. You know, that road’s getting kind of really poor, but there’s only two people who live on that street. It’s a dead end street that two people live on. That happens to be one of our “very poor” roads.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the city council approved changes to an agreement with Portage Township related to a USDA project to put in sewers at M-26 and Green Acres Road. The wastewater will flow into Houghton’s system and the township will pay the city an agreed rate for the service being offered.

The changes include clarifying that the rate will increase if flow exceeds 100,000 gallons per day, adding language to state definitively that Portage Township owns the sewers in the area in question, and wording that allows the agreement to be assigned to another federal agency should the United States Department of Agriculture be absorbed by another department, or the responsibility for the program is shifted elsewhere.

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