The Eaton County Road Commission was established in 1912 by resolution of the County Board of Supervisors and charged by law with the duty “to keep in reasonable repair, so that they shall be reasonably safe and convenient for public travel, all county roads, bridges, and culverts that are under their care and control, and which are open to public travel.” State law also requires the Road Commission to permit and regulate certain activities in road right-of-way, authorizes the Road Commission to set reasonable standards for adopting new roads into the county system and to enforce state restrictions on vehicle size and weight on county roads.
Over the past 100 years, the Eaton County road system has grown to include 390 miles that are now designated as Primary roads. Passage of the McNitt Act in 1931 abolished the old township road system and transferred over 650 miles of township roads to the Road Commission. These old township roads, together with over 118 miles of subdivision streets built since that time, make up what is now the 781 mile system of County Local roads. Overall, 57%, or 672 miles, of all Eaton County roads are paved, with the remaining 500 miles being gravel surfaced but otherwise unimproved.
Routine maintenance by Road Commission workers is organized into four service areas. Crews working in the southeast and southwest areas of the County operate out of the main garage in Charlotte. The northwest quarter of the County is served by the crew based in Vermontville, and the northeast area is covered by workers from our garage in Delta Township.
While the Road Commission continues to use its own forces for emergency and minor repairs, and most of the routine maintenance of snow removal, gravel blading, and seal coating, all construction and most other heavy maintenance work is performed by private contractors selected through competitive bids. Many other routine maintenance operations that require specialized equipment such as mowing, pavement markings and street sweeping are also provided by private firms.
While the Road Commission’s first priority is public safety on all county roads, we continue to work towards keeping the existing good roads in Eaton County in good condition, rather than deferring needed maintenance in order to pay for the construction of new paved roads.