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Delta Township is in the early stages of the St. Joe Highway water main and pathway project

Crews are working on a water main break
Posted at 7:39 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 07:39:39-04

GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — In the 27 years, there have been at least 50 water main breaks on St. Joe Highway in Delta Township. But a new project is in the works to change that.

Delta Township manager Brian Reed said the water main is from the late 1950s, early 1960s.

Water main break
Water main break

“We know we need to replace some water main on St. Joe basically from Waverly to Creyts road. It’s some of our oldest water main in the township," Reed said. "We need to replace it and upsize it. We’ve also studied non-motorized pathways through that area and found a shared-use path would be desirable in that area, so we’re hoping to combine the two projects together since we will be digging in the area.”

Water main in Delta Township
Water main in Delta Township

Rick Kane, the utility director of water and sewer, said the upgrades are necessary because water main breaks can cause major disruptions.

“Whenever you can reinvest in your infrastructure, it’s very important for that reliability. And it’s important to keep improving and upgrading our infrastructure," Kane said.

Water main issues in Delta Township
Water main issues in Delta Township

To upgrade the water main, the township estimates it will cost $4.5 million which would come out of the water rates.

“We have planned ahead very well with our utility rates both on the water and wastewater side. So, we do have resources available to fund that water main project,” Reed said.

The township is using this opportunity to also complete another project, called 'The Pathway Project.' If they group the two upgrades together, they say they'll save money.

Upgrading pathways
Upgrading pathways

The goal of the pathway project is simple, to improve safety for bikers and pedestrians.

Bike shops like the Bike Lane in Broad Ripple have experienced an increase in business during the pandemic.

“There’s currently a sidewalk, five-foot sidewalk, so this project would just be increasing that five-foot sidewalk to ten-foot pathway,” Reed said.

The pathway project is on the south side of St. Joe from Waverly to Snow Road and continues over onto the north side from Snow Road to Creyts.

If the pathway were built alone, it would cost around $1.5 million, but if they can combine the projects, Reed said they will save quite a bit of money, though he didn't have an exact number.

As far as the next steps, the township is seeking community feedback and will have public meetings in a couple of months.

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