The Michigan Department of Transportation's (MDOT) recently approved 2007–2011 Five Year Transportation Program will provide millions of dollars in transportation improvements to Northern Lower Michigan again this year. According to state transportation officials, the 2007 construction season will bring a $120-million investment to the region. The 2007 plan includes: $35 million in road rehabilitation and reconstruction projects, $21 million in Capital Preventive Maintenance (plus an additional $32 million for routine maintenance), $2 million for passing-relief lanes, and another $10 million for other modes of transportation.
"This year, we will meet our 2007 pavement condition goal of having 90 percent of roads and bridges in good condition," said North Region Engineer Brian Ness. "We have focused our efforts on this goal since 1997, in order to improve the tourism experience and enhance the economic activity of the region. Our continued investments will ensure that our infrastructure does not deteriorate to the extent that our system was at a decade ago."
Based on a recent study by The University of Michigan Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, and the Economic Development Research Group, Inc., approximately 2,000 jobs are expected to be created or retained in Michigan as a result of this $120-million investment.
During the 2007 construction season, some highlights include:
- Repairing and resurfacing 2 miles of northbound Interstate 75, south of Mackinaw City, from US-31 to M-108, including ramps, in Cheboygan County.
- Resurfacing approximately 11-1/2 miles of Interstate 75 from Sturgeon Valley Road to Wolverine Road, north of Gaylord in Cheboygan County.
- Intersection improvements on approximately 1/2-mile of M-72 from US-31 to Mt. Hope Road, and US-31 south of M-72 in Acme. The project includes widening for dual left-turn lanes on M-72 and for a right-turn lane on northbound US-31 in Grand Traverse County.
- Bridge removal, culvert placement, and paving and slope restoration on approximately 1/4-mile of US-23, 2 miles north of the Arenac/Iosco County line in Iosco County.
- Removing and replacing approximately 11-1/3 miles of US-131 between Kalkaska and Mancelona in Kalkaska County and portions of Antrim County.
- Repairing and milling approximately 5-1/3 miles of US-31 near Manistee, from M-22 to Coates Highway, and from Maidens Road to Potter Road in Manistee County. This includes an extension of a passing relief lane, along with safety and drainage improvements.
- Resurfacing approximately 13 miles of US-131 northbound from Luther Road to M-115, and US-131 southbound from White Pine Trail Road to M-115, southeast of Cadillac in Osceola County.
- Constructing an approximately 1-1/3-mile long passing relief lane on M-33 from Curtisville Road to Zimowski Road, south of Mio in Oscoda County.
- Resurfacing approximately 11-1/3 miles of US-23 from the Alpena/Presque Isle County line to CR-638. The project includes guardrail upgrades and slope restoration in Presque Isle County.
- Resurfacing approximately 9-3/4 miles of US-127 from CR-104 to the US-127/Interstate 75 junction, between Higgins Lake and Grayling in Roscommon County.
- Intersection improvements and bridge widening for pedestrian facilities on approximately 1/2-mile of M-115 at North Boulevard, near Cadillac in Wexford County.
The North Region serves 24 counties in Northern Lower Michigan, including: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Wexford counties. MDOT's North Region includes 12 commercial ports, 22 recreational harbors, 14 rest areas, 21 roadside parks, 22 car-pool lots, 670 miles of rail, and 38 airports. Major state routes include: Interstate 75, US-23, US-127, US-31, US-131, and thousands of miles of "M" routes owned and operated by MDOT.