Frequently Asked Questions

Asphalt is used for all driveway replacements in the county to conform with RCKC maintenance activities.  The majority of all roadways within the RCKC jurisdiction are asphalt.  Concrete roads and driveways cost more to build and maintain verses asphalt driveways.  Per our RCKC Construction Guidelines when asphalt road projects are undertaken and paved driveways need to be replaced in the public right-of-way (ROW), they shall be replaced to the minimum requirements for Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) specified. Property owners with concrete driveways may choose to replace their driveway with concrete at their own expense or accept replacement with HMA. The concrete driveways may be removed in the public ROW. The RCKC team assesses each driveway situation to minimize the amount of concrete removed.  It is important to note that right-of-way permits for driveways are required and therefore property owners are advised of this provision proactively for those wishing to construct a concrete driveway prior to a property owners’ investment.

The RCKC does not have any railroad authority, please contact the appropriate railroad by using these references: Railroad Company Emergency Phone Numbers or Emergency Notification System at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. If the railroad authority is doing work on a railroad crossing and you have questions, please use the contacts above and  reference MCL 462.309(5) for the specific language related to the local road authority notification process.

Roads are designated as Natural Beauty Roads according to Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act 451 of 1994 Part 357. Preserving vegetation is an important part of ensuring the road remains unique. Natural beauty roads should receive the same level of maintenance performed on the road before designation and consistent with actions that are necessary to protect the safety of the motoring public, as long as the character of use and development of the road and along the roadway does not change to the extent that a higher degree of maintenance is necessary to protect the safety of the motoring public. (See Natural Beauty Roads Flyer)

The RCKC understands encroachments and/or obstructions vary, however items locatin the public ROW may interfere with the safety of the traveling public or the maintenance and operation of the road system.  Mailboxes are one of the only objects allowed by law to be placed in the road ROW.  The RCKC prohibits and, if necessary, removes any encroachments or obstructions in the county ROW.  The encroachments and obstrtuctions range from vegetation, landscape, earthwork, signs, fences, buildings, and other objects, including oversized mailboxes or posts, and basketball hoops. (See encroachment flyer)

The RCKC does not assign addressing. Please contact your respective township, village or city for street addresses and fees.

If a dead animal is causing a road hazard, or blocking the traveled portion of the road; RCKC crews will move the dead animal off the road and let nature take its course.   Our crews will make an effort, if we find a tag or telephone number, to contact the owner of a domestic dead animal. We will not dispose of any dead animals. 

Road Commissions are responsible for the construction or maintenance of public roads within the state per Public Act 51.  We are not responsible for roadside litter of any type.  Some townships may have litter ordinances that apply for possible enforcement.  

The width of the county road right-of-way can vary a great deal. However, the general rule of thumb is that the road right-of-way is 66 feet wide, approximately 33 feet on both sides of the center of the road. There are instances where the road centerline does not match the center of the road right-of-way. It is advisable to utilize the county Geographic Information System (GIS) site to determine the actual width and location of the road right-of-way.

The RCKC maintains roads outside the jurisdiction of cities, villages and the Michigan Department of Transportation. (See maps: Countywide Act 51 Certification Maps)

At this time, RCKC does not accept applications unless an opening has been identified. Career opportunities are usually publicized in various publications and posted on the Career opportunities page of our website if there is an opening.

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 Pavement Surface Evaluation Rating (PASER) data is incorporated into a road management program with Geographic Information Systems (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 Road Data - Asset Management: Current Ratings by Township)

Contact the RCKC with a service request; we may provide you an insurance claim form which must be fully completed including two estimates, pictures, police report and your vehicle insurance Declarations page with the claim form to our insurance provider.  The RCKC insurance provider will follow-up on the claim accordingly.  For more information on Michigan's No-fault Insurance as it relates to vehicle damage, please see:

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 1,267 mile system under RCKC jurisdiction. Typically, local roads and streets are among the last to be cleared because they aren't as heavily traveled. (See Snow Removal Brochure)

Certainly sanding and salting every road is cost prohibitive, however more importantly salting and sanding best practices indicate that road salts commonly used in the winter to melt ice and keep roads clear are potentially allowing the salt to reach groundwater and wells.  Sand potentially impacts the ability of storm drains to also function properly.   Not to mention our vehicles and the effects to our infrastructure.  Therefore, RCKC limits the use of both materials primarily at hills, curves and intersections without presenting unacceptable risk, while also protecting our surface and ground water.  Salt also has its limitations when temperatures are below 20 degrees.  For additional information on RCKC Environmental – Water Resource Protection please visit the Environmental Links page of our website and our Snow Removal Brochure.  Reminder; the Michigan Vehicle Code Public Act 300 of 1949 reminds each of us that we shall operate a vehicle at a careful and prudent speed for various conditions – so please take it slow in ice and snow – drive for conditions.

Salt, sand, and liquid deicer are applied as moderately as possible, without presenting unacceptable risk to the motoring public. The salt keeps the sand from freezing, while the sand provides traction to the vehicles. When the temperature drops below 20° F salt becomes less effective. The use of liquid deicer increases the melting capability at lower temperatures in addition to reducing the bounce and scatter of salt when applied to the road.  Recently, we have been made aware by Michigan’s Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) representatives that EGLE’s aquatic biologists who conduct water quality monitoring have seen elevated chloride levels in Michigan lakes which has been noted as a concern statewide.  As an organization this is something we must monitor as part of our EGLE permitting activities and environmental care practices.  More is not always better in this instance in comparison.

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. RCKC policy notes that an owner must clearly demonstrate the damage to a mailbox was caused by direct contact by road commission equipment.  However, if a snow shield is installed, the Board will not reimburse for any direct contact damage to mailboxes and/or snow shield.  The Board will not assume responsibility for mailbox damage that may be caused by snow/ice that is being plowed from the roadway. (See Mailboxes and Mailbox Supports and Policy)

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 Mailboxes and Mailbox Supports )

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. (See Michigan Vehicle Code (excerpt) Act 300 of 1949)

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. (See All Season Routes Map)

Public libraries and county law libraries receive the entirety of penal fines collected, which include fines from traffic tickets written under state statute. The Road Commission does not receive any funds. For more information see the Michigan Vehicle Code (excerpt) Act 300 of 1949.

The RCKC annual summer spot spraying of roadside brush is typically conducted in July and August.  The program is designed to contain roadside brush and overhanging tree branches that could obstruct motorists' vision, create drainage obstacles or cause snow and icing problems if left unchecked. The operation is not a continuous broadcast, only those roadside areas where existing brush and limbs are creating safety hazards are sprayed with herbicide.  If you live in a platted area (plat as defined in the Land Division Act, 1967 PA 22 or a subdivision type development), your property wil not be involved.  Annually, specific townships are selected on a rotating system for brush spray.

If you would rather not have the brush sprayed along your roadside, owners will have to clear the brush and limbs before the spraying program begins annually.  Property owners may remove brush and low hanging limbs at minimum fourteen (14) feet up and fourteen (14) feet away from the traveled portion of the right-of-way with RCKC permission prior to the time frame specified by RCKC.  If the roadside vegetation control efforts have not been accomplished within the permitted time frame annually, an application of a herbicide may occur.  (For more information, See Tree and Woody Vegetation Brochure)

The Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo (BCK) Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) can assist.  Also, there is a Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) APP available for reporting locations.  CISMA can assist residents with any treatments which would be with a cost share system.  You can contact the BCK at 269-908-4136.

Dead/dying trees located in the right-of-way are the responsibility of the property owner for removal. The RCKC may remove trees from the public right-of-way that is not designed for vehicular travel, but has the discretion not to do so. If a property owner wishes to remove, trim or prune a tree that is located in the right-of-way they must complete a permit application to work within the public right-of-way with the RCKC. A right-of-way application is available on our Permit page of this website. (see Permit tab) The permit fee may be waived. (See Roadside Vegetation Management Policy)

The RCKC has exclusive right to remove any obstruction within the highway right-of-way.  In addition, to expressly granting authority to the RCKC to maintain trees within the right-of-way, the legislature has also expressly prohibited anyone else from “cutting, destroying or otherwise injuring any shade or ornamental tree or shrub growing within the limits of any public highway within the state of Michigan without consent of the authorities having jurisdiction over such road.”  If a property owner seeks to have a tree that is located in the public right-of-way, removed, trimmed or pruned, RCKC permission must be sought and granted through a permit application (see Permit tab) process before the owner engages in any such removal.  The permit application fee may be waived at RCKC’s discretion.  (See Roadside Vegetation Management Policy)

Please call the RCKC office immediately and/or 911 after normal business hours.  The RCKC as first responders will respond accordingly.  Fallen trees within the traveled portion of the right-of-way will be moved outside of the road right-of-way to adjacent  property when possible (except in those instances where the RCKC holds title to the entire road right-of-way typically in plat areas).  The relocated fallen trees will be left for the property owner’s use and/or  disposal.  Within fifteen (15 days) of a fallen tree being  relocated, the property owner may complete and submit a request that the fallen tree moved by the RCKC, county, municipal or township police, fire, emergency or public utility personnel be cut and stacked adjacent to the public right-of-way, or may request that it be removed.  A pink flag will be left near the relocated tree informing residents they have (15 days) to contact the RCKC for tree removal options. For those property owners that do contact RCKC accordingly, the RCKC will return as determined within other RCKC activities and priorities.  (See Roadside Vegetation Management Policy and Tree Removal Brochure)

The RCKC will continue to take a proactive approach to remove trees that may impact a road improvement project.  In situations arising from a road improvement project, the property owner may complete a tree removal notification form that will be provided by RCKC to request that any trees to be removed be cut or request it be removed.  Please see listing of projects on our Projects page.  Informational meetings may be held accordingly for each project.   (See Roadside Vegetation Management Policy)

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 Guidelines for Planting Trees and Shrubs Near Roads Maintained by the Road Commission of Kalamazoo County.)

Please use caution at all intersections and obey the regulatory signs.  According to the Michigan Vehicle Code "...the driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, of if there is not a crosswalk shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; or if there is not a crosswalk or a clearly marked stop line, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersectin roadway. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right of way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is approaching so closely on the highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver would be moving across or within the intersection..." , if there is an issue of sight distance due to brush or other encroachment in the public right-of way, please enter a service request.

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 Speed Limits Brochure.)

Establishing Realistic Speed Limits & More Informational Session 4-20-2021

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.(See Chip Seal Brochure) (See Video Preserving County Road with Chip Seal)

RCKC 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 and we reveiw annually. (See Traffic Signs and Signals.)

Nothing! Contrary to popular belief, property taxes do not come to the RCKC. However, residents or local governments may "tax" themselves. This may be a a special assessment district for a specific project their property fronts, township-wide special assessment/millage or county wide-wide millage.  Currently, in Kalamazoo County of our 15 townships:

  • Road Millage: Climax and Wakeshma Townships
  • Local Road Township Special Assessment District: Texas Township
  • Local Road Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 247.670: Comstock and Oshtemo Townships

We do not have a county-wide millage in Kalamazoo County.  Our main revenue source comes from the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) as a primary result of the purchases of gasoline and diesel fuels and registration fees. (See Funding 101 Brochure.)

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. RCKC must always balance the amount of money available and what type of fix would be appropriate to preserve our overall road system. RCKC annually reviews the primary and local road system to update the Road Capital Improvement Plan. This Road Capital Improvement Plan along with our preventive maintenance projects, such as seal coat (chip seal) assists in long term preservation of our infrastructure within budget limitations. (See Road Capital Improvement Plan)

RCKC annually partners with our township governments for local road improvement priorities. The RCKC 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. 

The RCKC 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. 

This fillable form can provide an initial view of your contribution to Michigan roads. Please note it does not include any local or county millages/special assessments. 

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