The City of Grand Rapids is starting its sixth season of ramped-up road constructions. That’s thanks to the voter-approved Vital Streets initiative.
By the end of June, the City will have completed preventative maintenance and reconstruction on 365 miles of streets since 2014. Grand Rapids has gone from 37 percent of streets in good or fair condition to 61 percent. That’s thanks to the Vital Streets program. Here’s Grand Rapids assistant city engineer, Rick DeVries.
“So, we’ve asked that management, if you can keep the fair streets in that condition, it’s much less expensive to invest in than if you have to reconstruct things. So it becomes critical that once you get a street in fair condition to invest in it with preventative maintenance, so it can continues in that condition.”
And keeping the streets in the good or fair condition is critical. DeVries says before they got started they had a sustainable streets task force look at the level of investment needed. If they hadn’t started vital streets back in 2014, he says streets would be at about 87 percent poor today.
“So, without that investment, streets would’ve degraded even further. So now, we’re at 60 percent good/fair, back to a condition we haven’t seen since 2002. And it wouldn’t be possible without residents approving that income tax extension and we really appreciate that.”
DeVries says expect to see a lot of construction ongoing in the coming months into next year.
Currently, the City Commission is looking at the road construction plan for July through June of 2020. Over the last year DeVries says they’ve been busy making an 11.9 million dollar investment at 64 locations.
Vital Streets projects are backed by a voter-approved plan in 2014 that extended a local income tax levy for 15 years. Vital streets along with road funding commitment by the state, ensures 70 percent of city streets reach fair to good condition within 15 years.
You can find continued road construction project information on the city’s website at grandrapidsmi.gov/residents/road-construction.