Superintendent of Streets & Construction – Jim James
Major & Local Streets
The Revenue Department of the Major Street Fund is responsible for providing operating revenue to fund maintenance and routine operation of the major street system within the City.
All of the streets in the City are designated under Act 51 of the Public Acts of 1951 as either major or local streets. In general terms, streets which service vehicular traffic whose destination is along or close to that street, are categorized as local streets. Streets serving traffic with destinations outside of the local area of the street are categorized as major streets. Major streets must meet specific requirements for dimension and construction to be eligible for categorization as such. Act 51 requires annual reporting of any changes to the local or major street system as well as financial and audit reporting of the City’s expenditures relating to the street system.
The City receives revenue for maintenance of the major street system from the State of Michigan. This revenue is significantly larger than the revenue received from the State for maintenance of the local street system. The revenue received is based on a formula (which changes annually) incorporating a funding factor multiplied by the number of miles of major streets within the City. Several other external and internal sources of revenue supplement the revenue received from the State, primarily the City’s General Fund.
The Construction Department of the Major Street Fund is responsible for all new street construction and reconstruction projects on streets classified as major under Act 51 in the City. Relatively few street construction projects fall in this category due to the smaller number of major streets (only about 1/3 of the City’s streets are classified as major streets) and the requirement for most streets to be constructed as local streets and then reclassified as major streets following construction.
Some outside sources of funding do allow for major street construction with sole or supplemental revenue coming from entities other than the City. These include but are not limited to; the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Department of Commerce, and Federal transportation enhancement programs such as those developed under the Internodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) or the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
All major street construction projects are subject to the regulations included in Act 51 and are frequently subject to additional regulation depending on the sources of funding used to finance them.
The Routine Maintenance Department of the Local Street Fund is responsible for all of the maintenance work done on the local street system except complete construction or reconstruction projects. Most of the work done by this department is done by employees of the Department of Public Services. However, when it is either more efficient to contract with outside contractors, or when outside contractors can provide expertise or equipment not available to Department of Public Services employees, the work is contracted out. The Local Street Routine Maintenance Department is the largest user of labor within the Department of Public Services.
The Routine Maintenance Department primarily focuses on the day-to-day maintenance tasks necessary to keep the local street system (and the related public rights-of-way) in good repair. These tasks range from the annual seal coating program to curb, gutter, and sidewalk replacement to storm sewer repair. All work must be performed with the safety of the traveling public held in the highest importance. As with all Major and Local Street Fund Departments, general supervision of the Routine Maintenance Department is the responsibility of the Director of Public Services, with the Superintendent of Streets and Construction overseeing day-to-day operations.
The Sweeping Department of the Major Street Fund is responsible for all street sweeping done on the major street system. Street sweeping is done with a vacuum street sweeper operated during the spring, summer and fall seasons as weather permits.
The Traffic Services Department of the Local Street Fund is responsible for placement, replacement, and maintenance of all regulatory and warning signs, signals, and pavement markings on or along the local street system in the City. This includes maintenance and other tasks necessary to insure the traffic services appurtenances function as desired. Installation and maintenance of signs, signals, and pavement markings is done in accordance with the most current federal, state, and local regulations. The Michigan Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices provides comprehensive guidelines for traffic services material installation.
The Winter Maintenance Department of the Local Street Fund is responsible for snow and ice removal to the fullest extent possible from the local street system. Labor for this task is provided by the Department of Public Services.