Traverse City News and Events

Here's Your Traverse City Summer Road Construction Update

By Craig Manning | June 22, 2020

Summertime is road construction season in Michigan, and the Traverse City area has a packed schedule over the next few months - particularly with several projects delayed due to COVID-19.

The most significant road closure currently has nothing to do with road improvements: On US-31 between Three Mile and Four Mile roads, East Bay Township and Acme Township have teamed up to repair an aging sewer line, temporarily closing one lane of eastbound US-31 along the stretch. That project is expected to last through late July.

Active now: Last week, Grand Traverse County Road Commission (GTCRC) kicked off its annual cycle of chip seal projects, beginning in Peninsula Township. In areas where these projects are active, roadways are reduced to one lane with flag control and motorists are advised to seek alternate routes. This week’s affected roads include:
· Monday: Old Mission Road, Island View Road, and Bowers Harbor Road
· Tuesday: East Shore Road, as well as a Silver Lake Culvert Patch
· Wednesday: North Long Lake, Heniser Road, and West Long Lake Road
· Thursday: South Long Lake Road and Youker Road
· Friday: West County Line Road
· Saturday: Supply Road

Chip seal projects are also planned for North Hobbs Highway and Walton Road.

Also currently active is a $4.4 million MDOT project in Grawn to widen and repave 2.5 miles of US-31 from east of Sullivan Road to M-37 at Chums Corner. The project, which began in late March and is scheduled to finish on August 14, has largely maintained two-lane, two-way traffic so far, though several single-lane closures have been necessary.

The City of Traverse City is in year two of a three-year “Sidewalk Gap and Infill Project,” which will ultimately add 9.4 miles of new sidewalk throughout the city. Last Friday, city contractors began construction on new sidewalks for Boyd Avenue from Rose Street to Garfield Avenue. That project will run to June 26. New sidewalk construction will occur one block north on Lincoln Street from June 24 to July 2, adding sidewalk from Fern Street to Garfield. Affected streets segments will be closed to through traffic during the day while workers are present, and on-street parking will be temporarily prohibited.

Coming soon: GTCRC will begin a series of crack seal repairs on local roads starting in July, including brief projects on Barnes Road, Bates Road, Blackman Road, County Road 633, Elk Lake Road, Fife Lake Road, Four Mile Road, Gray Road, North Long Lake Road, Silver Lake Road, South Airport Road, and Williamsburg Road.

GTCRC also has multiple hot mix asphalt (HMA) projects on the docket, including Karlin Road (between Youker and Vagabond roads), North Hobbs Highway (between Garfield and Arbutis Hill roads), and Walton Road (from Hodge Road to M-113), though Assistant County Highway Engineer Joe Slonecki notes that these HMA projects don’t have specific dates set. “HMA projects…are generally fit into our contractor’s schedule as time allows, with a completion date of all projects in the fall,” he explains.

Another potential summer project is a federally-funded rehabilitation of Hammond Road from LaFranier to Garfield. Slonecki says that plans have been completed and will go out for bid through MDOT shortly. The goal is to complete the project sometime in the late summer. Crush-and-shape work along another part of Hammond, from Garfield to Townline, is currently pending funding, but will likely go ahead this summer as well.

Finally, work is set to begin in July on the first of three construction phases for the Boardman Lake Trail project. City Engineer Tim Lodge says the construction will occur along the railroad tracks from 14th Street to the NMC University Center on Boardman Lake. The other two phases of the project will go out to bid “later this year” and are expected to be completed in 2021.

Delayed: The City of Traverse City has faced delays on several planned summer projects. Lodge tells The Ticker these delays are primarily related to the availability of contractors whose schedules have been turned upside down by COVID-19. “We have to be flexible,” Lodge says, noting that, since the city’s budget year runs from July 1 to June 30, it can shift projects from a summer season to the following spring without too much difficulty.

The city had intended to begin reconstruction work on Randolph Street between Bay Street and Division Street this spring. That project was bumped back, though Lodge anticipates work will start in June or July and still be completed by Labor Day. Also shifting is the Safe Routes to School project, which will make upgrades to 4.52 miles of sidewalk and bike lanes around 10 local schools. Those improvements were initially targeted to start in June, but will now start later this year and be completed in 2021. A slight delay is also in the cards for the city’s four bridge projects – on West Front Street, Eighth Street, Park Street, and South Cass Street, respectively. The first of those projects, South Cass Street and Park Street, were planned to start this summer. Lodge now expects the bridge projects will “start over the winter and be completed in 2021.”

GTCRC also has several jobs on its 2020 project list that likely won’t start until next year. These include deck replacements for bridges on Garfield and River roads, a crush-and-shape rehabilitation of Kingsley’s Walton Road, and improvements at the intersection of South Long Lake Road and West Long Lake Road. Slonecki says these projects are all currently going through the state or federal funding process and are facing delays “due to materials supply and timing of bids.” He expects all three projects will happen in summer 2021 instead.

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