Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What roads are maintained by the KCRC?
A. The KCRC maintains roads outside the jurisdiction of cities, villages and the Michigan Department of Transporation. (See publications or maps: Countywide Act 51 Certification Maps)
Q. How do I know the condition of roads under the jurisdiction of KCRC?
A. WIth the use of Asset Management, a systematic approach is used in selecting the best investment at the right time to maximize the life of the asset being measured, in this case, road surface conditions. The PASER rating data is incorporated into a road management program with GIS mapping technology called Roadsoft. The Roadsoft program is used to compile, store, and report on the road condition assessments. RoadSoft was developed by Michigan Technological University for all road agencies in Michigan. The PASER rating scale ranges from 1, failed condition, to 10, brand new pavement. (See asset management: Current Ratings by Township)
Q. Why isn't my road plowed right away when it snows?
A. Our first responsibility is to clear the snow route roads, a special network of main roads that includes more than 260 miles in the over 1,264 mile system under KCRC jurisdiction. Typically, local roads and streets are among the last to be cleared because they aren't as heavily traveled. (See publications: Snow Removal)
Q. What is the KCRC’s policy for mailbox damage?
A. More often than not, damage to mailboxes is caused by snow pushing against weakened posts or hardware. Proper maintenance may help to prevent damage during winter maintenance operations. KCRC policy notes that an owner must clearly demonstrate the damage to a mailbox was caused by direct contact by road commission equipment. The Board will not assume responsibility for mailbox damage that may be caused by snow/ice that is being plowed from the roadway. (See publications: Mailboxes and Mailbox Supports)
Q. What are weight restrictions?
A. Weight restrictions are legal limits placed on the loads trucks may carry. During late winter and early spring, when seasonal thawing occurs, the maximum allowable axle load and speed is reduced to prevent weather-related breakup of roads.
Q. What are all-season roads?
A. All-season roads are roadways that are not subject to weight restrictions, which means that heavy-load trucks can drive on them all year. Non-all-season roads are subject to weight restrictions during thaw periods to prevent costly damage to these roads.
Q. Why are there rules about the types of mailboxes and posts people can have?
A. Regulations about mailbox and mailbox support types and locations were instituted because massively designed structures and incorrectly placed boxes and supports contributed to a large number of injuries and deaths in Michigan. (See publications: Mailboxes and Mailbox Supports )
Q. Do I have to have the brush sprayed that's on my property down by the road?
A. If your area is scheduled for brush control, and you would rather clear your own roadside, you are welcome to do so. All you have to do is complete a "No Spray Application" - available from the Road Commission office, your township office, or downloaded from this web site -return it before the deadline and then clear the brush and low-hanging limbs from your property. We'll hand-deliver an exemption sign to your home if you have filed a request. (For more information, see publications: Brush Removal and Control)
Q. People are speeding on our road. How do I get the speed limit lowered?
A. Changing a speed limit is not a whimsical process. Any decision regarding speed limits must be based on facts and an objective analysis of the characteristics of the roadway. When a request is received to lower the speed limit on a county road, the township, the Road Commission and the Michigan State Police (Establishing Speed Limits) work together to conduct studies such as speed studies, accident analyses, and driving environment surveys. Recommendation is made based on an objective analysis of all the data collected. If a change in speed limit is in order, a Traffic Control Order is submitted to the Director of the Michigan State Police for approval. (See publications: Establishing Realistic Speed Limits and Speed Limits Brochure.)
Q Why do you seal coat (chip seal) roads?
A. Just as your home needs ongoing maintenance to keep it in tiptop shape, so do roads. Several kinds of seal are used, depending on the road type and condition and traffic volume. Seal coating is a way to improve the road's surface and, at the same time, protect your investment, as a taxpayer, in roads.
Q. I heard you're going to remove some trees from our road. I like our trees. What can I do about this?
A. First, if tree removal is in the works and your property is involved, we'll let you know by certified mail or personally. Then, you have the right to appeal the proposed removal. The six steps in the appeal process and other information about road-tree issues are outlined in our brochure. (See publications: Trees (Removal, Pruning, Preservation, Replanting).
Q. My neighbors and I think we should have a traffic light at our corner. There have been a lot of accidents here. If I get enough signatures, can we have one?
A. KCRC follows the state of Michigan process for traffic signals. Michigan has developed a set of 11 guidelines, called warrants, to determine whether a traffic signal is needed. The most closely reviewed warrants include three questions. Is sufficient traffic coming from the side road to require a signal? Is the main road's traffic flow so constant that side-road traffic cannot enter or cross the main road? Have a significant number of right-angle accidents occurred at this intersection? Requests for traffic signals are reviewed, with the decision based on the state guidelines. Petitions are not a basis for the installation of a new traffic signal, however, they are helpful in bringing an intersection to our attention. (See publications: Traffic Signs and Signals.)
Q. I'm fixing up my property. I want to plant some trees along the road. Is that OK?
A. Trees do add beauty, color and character to our roadsides, but if they're too close to the road edge, they can be both hazardous and a potential liability for property owners, utilities and the Road Commission. We've prepared a brochure that provides guidelines on the roadside planting of trees and shrubs, explaining what will not only meet requirements but also improve the likelihood of tree survival and reduced maintenance as the tree matures. (See publications: Guidelines for Planting Trees and Shrubs Near Roads Maintained by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.
Q. We all pay property tax. Why isn't that enough to cover fixing our roads?
A. The property tax you pay is used for your local and county governmental units and for schools, not for roads. Over 67% of the KCRC budget is funded by the gas tax and vehicle registration fees. That's why the 1997 state gas tax increase was so urgently needed. The gas tax had not been increased since 1984, and cars had become more fuel-efficient through the years. (See publications: Funding County Roads and Bridges and How Much do I contribute to the Funding of Michigan Roads.)
Q. How do I apply or hear of a job opening at KCRC?
A. At this time, KCRC does not accept applications unless an opening has been identified. Job postings are usually publicized in various publications and posted on our website if there is an opening.
Q. How does the KCRC decide what projects will be funded?
A. Projects for potential funding are reviewed for areas including pavement conditions, traffic patterns, feedback from both the public and staff and a balance of how much money is available. Projects are evaluated for what type of fix may be appropriate to preserve roads in good condition-"the right fix, at the right time." Federal Aid funding may vary, as not all roads are on the federal aid system, and therefore eligible to receive federal aid funds. KCRC must always balance the amount of money available and what type of fix would be appropriate to preserve our overall road system. KCRC annually reviews the primary road system to update the Primary Road Capital Improvement 5-Year Program. This primary road plan along with our preventative maintenance projects, such as seal coat (chip seal) assists in long term preservation of our infrastructure within budget limitations.
KCRC annually partners with our township governments for local road improvement priorities. The KCRC maintains a local road participation fund program that provides funds for each township that must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis for local road improvement projects. 5-year plans are also developed with each township, considering asset management data.
Q. What aspects of a road does the KCRC have to consider for a project?
A. The KCRC has many features to consider when planning a project. Please see Street Features and Anatomy of a Road to see a snapshot of all the complex planning that is required.
Q. I need to have a street address assigned to my property. Who do I contact and how much does this cost?
A. The KCRC does not assign addressing. Please contact your respective township, village or city for street addresses and fees.