Traverse City News and Events

Road Project Updates: M-37/Peninsula Drive Transfer, 4 Mile/Hammond Roundabout, US-131 Construction & More

By Beth Milligan | May 8, 2021

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has decided against turning over Peninsula Drive/Center Road/M-37 to local jurisdictions, work is set to begin on a new roundabout at Four Mile and Hammond roads, and multiple street construction projects are kicking off this month in The Ticker’s latest look at road project updates.

M-37/Peninsula Drive
After initially seeking to turn over 17.3 miles of M-37/Peninsula Drive to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and .74 miles to the City of Traverse City, MDOT has reversed course, recently notifying local leaders the state will retain control over the corridor.

MDOT Traverse City Transportation Service Center Manager Dan Wagner told Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold by email that MDOT no longer plans to transfer M-37 “primarily due to the downstream implications given its designation as a Pure Michigan Byway.” Peninsula Township trustees had strenuously opposed the transfer, citing fears the road would not get the same level of attention from the GT County Road Commission as the state. Traverse City officials, however, supported the transfer and hoped to be able to redesign Peninsula Drive between Garfield and East Front (pictured) to city street instead of state highway standards. City Commissioner Brian McGillivary Monday said it was a “great disappointment” that MDOT wouldn’t transfer the stretch of road to the city.

City Manager Marty Colburn said the city is still working with MDOT on a number of possible safety improvements to the corridor. Wagner also alluded to potential “geometric changes as well as some pedestrian enhancements” in the city stretch of Peninsula Drive in his email to Manigold. Wagner said MDOT also plans to undertake an estimated $2 million resurfacing project of M-37 starting at the north city limit and ending near the Mapleton area in 2022.

Four Mile/Hammond Roundabout
Road commissioners last week awarded a nearly $2.1 million bid to Team Elmer’s for the construction of a new roundabout at Four Mile and Hammond roads. East Bay Township trustees will meet Monday to approve budget adjustments to cover the township’s contribution to the project, estimated at $646,400. Those costs are primarily related to utility work to extend water and sanitary sewer lines through the intersection so those are available for future expansion without having to tear up the roundabout. “It’s very important to try and do this now so we can have the utilities all set (for the future),” says GT County Road Commission County Highway Engineer/Manager of Engineering Wayne Schoonover.

Some utility work has already started at the roundabout site and will continue the next several weeks. Utility work could have some minor traffic impacts, such as shoulder closures, according to Schoonover. Actual roundabout construction could start as soon as June 26 and is expected to last through the end of September. Traffic will be heavily impacted in the area; while westbound traffic will be consistently maintained, eastbound traffic will be detoured to US-31 using Three and Five Mile roads and north/south traffic will be relocated around the site using local roads. The project is one of several roundabouts planned by the GT County Road Commission along key east-west corridors; two more are expected to follow in 2022 at the corner of Keystone and Cass roads and Keystone and River roads.

Other road project updates…
> The 100 and 200 blocks of Cedar Street between West Front and Sixth Streets in Traverse City will be closed for six months starting Monday for the replacement of three culverts on Kids Creek, including two on Cedar Street and one on Sixth. The closures start Monday at 7am, with an anticipated November 8 reopening. Team Elmer’s is overseeing the Kids Creek Crossing Project, which also includes utility and street reconstruction work. Access to businesses will be maintained, with traffic otherwise rerouted around the work site.

> MDOT is investing $4.6 million to rebuild 5.8 miles of US-131 from Fife Lake in Grand Traverse County to South Boardman in Kalkaska County. Work is expected to begin Monday, May 17 and continue through September 25. The project, which will also provide new pavement markings and rumble strips, will require daytime lane closures with traffic regulators. Funding is being provided by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program, which aims to “rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic,” according to MDOT.

> The GT County Road Commission will begin a crush-and-shape project on 4.3 miles of Walton Road starting Monday at 7am. Work – which already kicked off with tree removal in the area earlier this spring – will take place between Blackman Road and the railroad crossing and is expected to be complete by August 26. No thru traffic will be allowed in the work zone, but access will be made available to residents and businesses. The GT County Road Commission is also installing a new signal cabinet at the intersection of South Airport and Silver Lake roads on Sunday starting at 5pm. The traffic light will be completely dark while work is underway, with traffic controlled by four-way stop signs. Work is expected to last throughout Sunday night.

> City, Machin Engineering, Elmer’s Crane and Dozer, and Bella Concrete Construction crews will be constructing new sidewalk along Hastings Street starting Wednesday. Work will take place on both the east and west sides of Hastings Street between East Eighth Street and Boon Street from May 12 to July 2. While Hastings Street will remain open to traffic, there will be shoulder closures and lane shifts in the work zone. Delays can be expected, and on-street parking in the work zone is prohibited.

> Finally, the westerly southbound lane of Division Street between Twelfth and Fourteenth streets in Traverse City is closed for a week to traffic during the day. Crews started working in the area Friday, with the lane closed during the day and opened to traffic overnight. Division is expected to be fully reopened to traffic by May 14.

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