Gogebic County Road Commission Manager
is 2017’s Rural Engineer of the Year
Lansing, MI — Darren Pionk, PE, manager of Gogebic County Road Commission (GCRC), was selected by his peers at the CRA County Engineers Workshop on February 13 as the 2017 Rural Engineer of the Year.
“Michigan’s county road agencies rely on the hard work and dedication of their employees,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan. “We are honored to recognize Darren Pionk for his dedication towards safe and efficient roads in Michigan.”
Pionk has been manager of the GCRC since 2009 and has managed several large projects including the Ironwood to Bessemer Non-Motorized Trail Project, multiple critical bridge rehabilitation projects and the Lake Road flooding disaster project in 2016.
But perhaps his most significant accomplishment to date was GCRC’s efforts to repair more than $4.5 million in road damage following a 1,000-year storm event in 2016. Roughly 12 inches of rain poured down in the county along the shoreline of Lake Superior in Ironwood Township, washing out every major stream crossing within a six-mile stretch of roadway. As a result, nearly 100 residents were stranded between the ravines.
The roughly $2 million project included excavation and embankment, structural backfill, multiple box culverts and new guardrails. Pionk’s management and coordination with EMS, fire departments, county and state police led to restored access to county residents following the massive flood.
The repair project's speed was praised by those elsewhere in the U.P. as well. "The things he achieved in such a short span before winter set in was really remarkable," said Jody Norman, the managing director of the Delta County Road Commission and one of the people who nominated Pionk for the award.
"He is a highly respected engineer; very intelligent, very ambitious - the key word here is dedicated. He put countless hours in when that disaster went through, and I mean he went days and days on end - during the week, weekends, whatever it took to get that county back in shape," Superintendent of Operations for the Dickinson County Road Commission Jim Harris said. "We just very much respect him for all he does for the road commission. U.P.-wide we've got dedication and commitment at these road commissions and he really exemplifies that and proved it (after the storm)."
Harris, who also nominated Pionk, said Pionk was a highly respected engineer but down to earth as well. "Just the dedication I think was the main thing that drove us to want to get him that award," Harris said. "He's just totally committed to the road commission and the citizens. That speaks volumes to us - to see someone so committed to getting things opened up for the citizens of that county and for the motoring public was just phenomenal. We had to nominate him, we were just so impressed"
For his part, Pionk said he was humbled to be recognized by his peers. "It was a complete surprise, receiving the award. This was voted on by the members of our county road association of Michigan - other engineer-managers - and I think they just saw the work that was put into our projects the last two years with the flood disaster as well as our bridge projects and I was fortunate enough to receive the award," Pionk said.
He also credited everyone else involved in the process of rebuilding after the storm. "... It's really not just for me. The projects were such a team event; with the crew, consultants, contractors - everybody involved," Pionk said. "Again, I steered it together; but it took a big commitment from everybody."
Pionk holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and construction engineering from Michigan Technological University. He has been a licensed Michigan Professional Engineer (PE) since 1998 and is a member of the National Association of County Engineers.
Pionk served as chair of two CRA councils previously and president of the U.P. Road Builder Association in 2015. He is currently chairman of the Region 13B Rural Task Force and the CRA General Policy Committee, which sets legislative priorities for all 83 road agencies.
The 83 members of the County Road Association of Michigan represent the unified voice for a safe and efficient county transportation infrastructure system in Michigan, including appropriate stewardship of the public’s right-of-way in rural and urban Michigan. Collectively, Michigan’s county road agencies manage 75 percent of all roads in the state, including 90,000 miles of roads and 5,700 bridges. County road agencies also maintain the state’s highway system in 64 counties. Michigan has the nation’s fourth-largest local road system.
Copyright © 2018 County Road Association of Michigan, All rights reserved. Also reported by Richard Jenkins from the Daily Globe.
Snow totals are taken at Copper Peak
Week ending 03/16/2018
Snow for the week: 4"
Snow for the month: 8"
Total snow: 165"
Snow on the ground: 31"
Currents News and Notices
Gogebic County Roads
and State Highways
Outside of the City Limits
November 1st ~ April 15th
STATE OF MICHIGAN
TRAFFIC CONTROL ORDER NO. PA 27-07-92
New Year's Day
Message from The County Road Association of Michigan (CRA)
"Green lights are reserved for official government vehicles actively working on the road or right-of-way. Green lights may not be used by private contractors working on roads, parking lots or elsewhere.
The Legislature wanted the green lights to draw special attention on roadways to avoid crashes and encourage safety. While private plow operators no doubt mean well by using the green lights, it is not legal in Michigan."
The Gogebic County Road Commission
Hours of Operation
(May ~ September)
Monday ~ Thursday
6:00am - 4:00pm
(October ~ April)
Monday ~ Friday
7:00am - 3:00pm
March 5, 2018
SEASONAL WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
Effective at 8 a.m. central time on Friday, March 9, 2018 the Gogebic County Road Commission Spring Weight Restrictions will be in effect.
Local Road System – Due to the minimal surface support and frost heave susceptibility on the Local Road system (including gravel roads), the 5 ton limit shall be enforced.
County Primary Road System - shall follow the Michigan Frost Laws that require a 35% reduction in axle loading. This allows major principal routes through the County/Townships to remain at the normal weight restricted amount while reducing the loading on local roads.
The Gogebic County Road Commission shall monitor the frost action on our roads, and when conditions warrant removal of the 5 ton restrictions, notice shall be provided to revert back to the 35% reduction for the remainder of the weight restricted season.
If you have any questions please call our office at (906) 667-0233.
NOTICE TO BID
The Board of County Road Commissioners of Gogebic County, State of Michigan, at its offices in the Courthouse Annex, City of Bessemer, will receive sealed bids until Thursday, March 22, 2018 for:
The bid must be submitted on the specification and bidding blank, which may be obtained at the office of the road commission. Bid is to be submitted in a sealed envelope and plainly marked on the outside of the envelope for the item being Bid. The Board will accept a fax bid at (906) 663-4807, provided it is followed by receipt of the original signed bid by mail.
The Board reserves the right to reject or accept any bid or all bids or to waive irregularities and to accept any bid that, in the opinion of the Board, is to the best interest and advantage of the County of Gogebic.
BOARD OF COUNTY ROAD COMMISSIONERS
The Gogebic County Road Commission will hold its regular board meeting on
Monday, March 26, 2018 in its offices in the Courthouse Annex, Bessemer, Michigan.
4:00 p.m. Finance Meeting
Regular Meeting to start immediately after Finance Meeting
All are welcome and encouraged to attend!
Full 2018 GCRC Board Meeting schedule can be found here