Oceana County Road Commission receives state awards

April 11, 2023

Oceana County Road Commission Managing Director Mark Timmer displays two of the state awards. Contributed photo

Oceana County Road Commission receives state awards

LANSING – The Oceana County Road Commission received three statewide “Impress” awards at the recent 2023 County Road Association highway conference.

“Impress awards recognize county road agencies that demonstrate innovation on notable projects in the categories of communications, operations and collaboration,” states a County Road Association of Michigan press release. OCRC received awards in all three categories.

“Oceana County Road Commission’s efforts to improve operations through effective communication are to be admired,” said Denise Donohue, CRA CEO. “By improving channels of communication with townships and completing a long-term construction project, OCRC is making a difference across the county.” 

“It is an honor to be recognized among our peers for the work the Oceana County Road Commission does in maintaining, rebuilding and preserving roads, and is made possible through collaboration with townships, local, county, state and federal agencies,” said OCRC Managing Director Mark Timmer. “The awards are a positive reflection on the board, staff, and bargaining unit employees at the road commission and the work we do to serve the public and make roads better in Oceana County.”

OCRC received an “Excellence in Operations” award for rebuilding an old state trunkline; removing concrete; and paving on Water Road between Polk and Taylor roads. It used to be M 11 and was a 100-year-old state highway before eventually becoming a local road.  

The road still had 9 inches of concrete with 1 inch of asphalt over the concrete, and it was in poor shape. Several engineering companies provided estimates over the years, but they were too high for the road commission and Hart Township. The road commission proposed a plan to Hart Township which involved the road commission crews removing the asphalt and concrete in 2021; placing slag; and then paving the road in 2022. The total project including labor, equipment and material, was $791,000 — saving a minimum of $400,000 if the project had been bid out.

OCRC received a third “Excellence in Communications” award for a powerpoint presentation on 2022 road funding that the road commission presented to the Oceana County chapter of the Michigan Township Association. The MTA Road Committee developed an Oceana County road plan, which helped township officials gain a better understanding of where road funding comes from; the limitations of OCRC’s budget; and how the OCRC and townships can work together to rebuild and maintain roads in the county. Together, MTA-Oceana and OCRC helped strengthen their relationship and improved understanding of the road funding process.

An “Excellence in Collaboration” award was received for a joint project with road commissions for Newaygo, Montcalm and Kent counties and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). This project was a multi-agency surface improvement on M 37 between Newaygo and White Cloud involving the four road commissions providing crews and durapatch equipment.

“An independent panel of communications and operations experts from several of Michigan’s 83 county road agencies judged all Impress awards submissions. Recipients were honored for projects that  solved time constraints, labor costs, communication barriers and fostered collaboration. 

“The 83 members of the County Road Association of Michigan represent the unified voice for a safe and  efficient county transportation infrastructure system in Michigan, including appropriate stewardship of  the public’s right-of-way in rural and urban Michigan. Collectively, Michigan’s county road agencies  manage 75 percent of all roads in the state, including 90,000 miles of roads and 5,700 bridges. County road agencies also maintain the state’s highway system in 63 counties. Michigan has the nation’s fourth largest local road system.”

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