Traverse City News and Events

Road Projects: M-22/72 2025 Plans, Garfield/Potter Roundabout, Safety Studies & More

By Beth Milligan | April 2, 2024

In addition to the reconstruction of East Front Street/Grandview Parkway now underway and the reconstruction of the Union/Eighth intersection in downtown Traverse City – which kicked off Monday and will go until the end of April – more local road projects are on deck. The Michigan Department of Transportation will host an open house Thursday on 2025 plans to rebuild M-72/M-22 from Division Street to Cherry Bend Road, while the Grand Traverse County Road Commission will start work this month on a roundabout at Garfield/Potter roads, among other projects in the pipeline.

MDOT Open House
While the current rebuild of East Front Street/Grandview Parkway has been described as a once-in-a-generation project at $24.7 million, another project – which is nearly as costly and will also have significant traffic impacts – will follow on its heels next year.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will host an open house Thursday from 4pm to 6pm at Elmwood Township Hall on 2025 plans to rebuild a 2.2-mile section of M-72 (Grandview Parkway) from Division Street in Traverse City and M-22 (Bay Shore Drive) to Cherry Bend Road in Elmwood Township. At the open house, MDOT and consultant ROWE “will present draft designs for the project incorporating public comment received at two prior public meetings and gather additional feedback,” according to an MDOT release.

The project, estimated at $19 million, will include building a new roundabout at the M-72/M-22 intersection that also incorporates the Bay Street intersection. Other corridor work will include removing the concrete and composite (asphalt over concrete) pavements and restoring the surface condition and ride quality to good condition. Drainage improvements – including curb and gutter, storm sewer, and culverts – and sidewalk and trail replacement are also part of the project. MDOT will make corridor improvements for local transit buses, upgrade sidewalk ramps to ADA standards, modernize the Cherry Bend Road traffic signal, and improve “driveway access management where possible,” according to the state.

MDOT has been awarded a $14.4 million USDOT Rural Surface Transportation Grant under the Multimodal Discretionary Grants Program (MPDG) toward the project. Another $2 million in grant funding will come through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to support nonmotorized aspects of the work. “Final plans are expected by mid-2024, with the project put out for bids this fall,” according to MDOT. “Construction is planned to start in spring 2025, with work spanning most of the construction season.”

Road Commission Projects
The Grand Traverse County Road Commission (GTCRC) will start work April 22 building a new roundabout at the intersection of Garfield and Potter roads. Work is expected to take two months, with an estimated completion date of June 25. A posted detour will use Three Mile and Hammond roads. The project, coming in at just under $1.4 million, is being covered by a cost-sharing agreement using GTCRC and federal High Risk Rural Road funds.

Work will include .34 miles of single-lane roundabout construction, including earthwork, aggregate base and shoulder, drainage, hot mix asphalt, concrete curb and gutter, shoulder gutter, spillway, decorative concrete, guardrail, landscaping, lighting, and permanent signing, including reflective sheeting on signposts. Permanent, recessed pavement markings will also be part of the project. GTCRC has been working for at least a decade to improve safety at the dangerous intersection, which been the site of numerous accidents – including a crash in October that killed a Traverse City man and hospitalized three others. “It’s just a nasty intersection,” Road Commissioner Jason Gillman said previously. “(The roundabout) will change the traffic out there tremendously.”

Safety on other area roads was a prominent topic of discussion at GTCRC’s last two board meetings, including on Thursday. The GTCRC board agreed to seek safety funding for several projects this year by a May application deadline through MDOT. If successful, two of those grant applications could help fund two more roundabouts in the Traverse City area. The first is a roundabout at Three Mile and Potter roads, which is currently a four-way intersection with a two-way stop. The intersection has been the site of 30 accidents between 2018 and 2022. Converting the intersection to a roundabout is estimated to cost $1.25 million.

GTCRC is also seeking to build a “peanut” or “dog bone” roundabout – an elongated roundabout that is really two roundabouts separated by a narrow boulevard – on North Long Lake Road. The roundabouts would be situated at the intersections of Strait and East Long Lake roads. That area has been the site of 30 accidents in the 2018-22 period, including two serious injury crashes. The project could range between $1.4 and $2 million, based on early estimates, and requires right-of-way acquisition and driveway modifications.

Also on North Long Lake Road, GTCRC will seek funding to modernize the signal at TC West High School/Herkner Road. Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) will have to relocate the existing high school exit and modify the internal circulation as part of the project, with GTCRC board members making their safety grant application approval contingent on TCAPS committing to funding its share of the project. The project would remove the current two diagonal-span-signal configuration and replace it with one box span-style signal, as well as install advance warning and advanced detection on North Long Lake Road to the west of Herkner Road. There have been 22 crashes at the site between 2018 and 2022. The signal replacement by itself is estimated at $400,000. GTRCRC board members also agreed to seek funding for a safety audit of Cedar Run at Gray and Harris roads. That audit will identify recommended safety improvements to the corridor, which is under heavy development pressure and experiencing increased traffic (Cedar Run averaged 6,700 vehicles a day in 2021, while Gray Road experienced 6,300 daily in its last count in 2016).

Finally, GTCRC board members Thursday approved two “pass-through” or contract projects with MDOT. One is a $71,721.87 project to replace a culvert on M-113 in Paradise Township. The other is a $159,734.88 contract to add new right-turn lanes on M-72 at the intersection of Elk Lake and Williamsburg roads in Williamsburg. Team Elmer’s was either the only or lowest bidder for both projects, receiving the bid awards.

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