More motorists injured in construction zones but fewer killed

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Serious injuries from Michigan road construction crashes are on the rise although the actual number of crashes, deaths and all injuries has dipped. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently tallied 2013 construction zone accidents:

107 serious injuries, up from 57 the year before
4,080 crashes, down from 4,592 in 2012
10 deaths, down from 15 in 2012
1,112 total injuries, down from 1,181 in 2012

A work zone is defined by the Michigan Vehicle Code as a portion of a street or highway that is between a “work zone begins” sign and an “end road work” sign. The data has not been analyzed yet, but there is some speculation that the lower number of crashes points to the intelligent traffic systems set up by MDOT, said Angie Kremer, traffic incident management engineer for the department. These systems consist of electronic signs along the expressway that update drivers about construction conditions, giving them more time to prepare for stopped or slowed traffic, Kremer said. In 2012, there were 609 total deaths in work zone crashes in the U.S. Michigan’s 15 deaths ranked at about the average.

Pothole season is in full effect

by Ariel Rogers
Grand Ledge Gazette Staff Writer
GRAND LEDGE – The weather warming up brings a bigger problem than just slushy shoes – potholes. Michigan is well known for roads in poor condition. Jenne Street, the Meijer parking lot and the Quality Dairy parking lot are major problem areas for potholes in Grand Ledge. Blair Ballou of the Eaton County Road Commission said it  is easier to talk about roads in good condition since there are so many that are not. The two Grand Ledge roads Ballou said that were the least problematic in Grand Ledge are Willow Highway and Broadbent Road due to recent resurfacing. “There used to be a sink hole that would need to be patched often on Willow Highway,” Grand Ledge resident Eric Beadle said.

Meridious Prime coming to an intersection near you

By Justin Polk
Meridian Times staff writer

Meridian has a lot of history in the township. From the first settlers to Chief Okemos, a lot of signs that represent the township. The Meridian Township Art Committee called out via the Art Council of Greater Lansing to find someone to represent the township in a single art piece. Local artist Timothy Higgins reached out to the committee regarding the task at hand. “I first heard about the opportunity by responding,” said Higgins who is from Elsie, Michigan.

How are we paying for that?

By Justin Polk
Meridian Times staff writer

Part of a government’s responsibility is to ensure that citizens can get from point A to point B. Meridian Township is no different. During 2013, Meridian Township is going to spend just over $1.5 million on projects throughout the township. So far, eight of the 10 projects have not been completed. In a report by Meridian Township Director of Public Works and Engineering, Raymond Severy, not all projects are funded the same. Gretchen Gomolka, Meridian townships finance director, explains why.

East Lansing businesses say roadwork is hurting them

By Erin Smith
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

East Lansing—The construction on Grand River Avenue and Michigan Avenue is not only annoying to drivers but it is also hurting the businesses that line the roads. Greg Losch, construction engineer for the Michigan Department of Transportation, or MDOT said the state is working on sidewalk upgrades to meet current Americans with Disabilities requirements. The entire project is slated to end in October. At the BP Gas Station, 504 Michigan Ave., October will be too late to compensate the losses, said clerk Katie Kanouse. “It’s a pain in the butt,” the Lansing resident said.

Construction in Downtown East Lansing Could Affect Business

It is only the beginning of spring , yet construction is already rampant in East Lansing. As of March 4, M-43 (Grand River Avenue) from Coolidge Road to Abbott Road, and Michigan Avenue from Harrison Road to the split with M-43 has been covered with orange. Grand River Cafe owner John Miller and Crunchy’s manager Mike Kruger give their takes on what this construction could do to business. Beginning on May 6 a series of additional construction work will make its way down Grand River Avenue eventually reaching Park Lake Road.  All work should be finished by the beginning of October 2013

Good news, pothole dodgers: orange cones coming soon

By KYLE CAMPBELL
Capital News Service
LANSING — With the backing of a $3.7 billion proposal for road and bridge maintenance from Gov. Rick Snyder, the Department of Transportation (MDOT) is set to move forward on 14 highway construction projects in Northern Michigan this year. The projects are laid out in the department’s five-year plan, which includes 50 road and 12 bridge renovation projects between 2013 and 2017 in the North and Superior regions. James Lake, communications specialist for MDOT’s Superior Region, said most these projects were in the works years before they began surfacing in five-year plans, meaning even without all of the money requested by Snyder, this year’s projects will be able to move forward. The renovations are set to begin with the resurfacing of a 6.3-mile stretch of M-37 in Wexford County between M-115 and 4 Road, which could start in March, depending on weather, said Bob Felt, communications specialist for MDOT’s North Region. The other four Lower Peninsula projects are set to start during early in the summer and include two minor alterations to US-31 in Emmet County, restoration of a 5.5-mile stretch of M-88 in Antrim County and 1.5 miles of rehabilitation to US-31 near Traverse City.

Bad roads could turn tourists away

By JUSTINE McGUIRE
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan’s deteriorating roads aren’t equipped to handle the extra traffic from the growing number of tourists throughout the state, and some officials fear bad roads could turn tourists away or give them a bad first impression. A lot of money goes into Pure Michigan and it’s been “wildly successful,” but the first impression of Michigan for many people is bad, dirty roads full of potholes that detract from the state’s beauty, said Kirk Steudle, director of the Department of Transportation (MDOT). Pure Michigan is an ad campaign that promotes the state as a tourism destination. Indicators of statewide tourism increases include record hotel occupancy in 2012 and increased out-of-state spending, according the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Pat Black, director of the Marquette County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “It’s great the state gives us $25 million a year for Pure Michigan, but there are more and more people on the roads wearing them down.”
“We’re really shooting ourselves in the foot,” Black said.

City Center II Delayed Again

Some five months after the predevelopment agreement had been signed and demolition was scheduled to begin, the future site of the proposed City Center II redevelopment project still sits vacant and untouched. City officials argue it wasn’t in the residents and tax payer’s best interests to move forward with the plan proposed last spring. “As we looked at the financial projections for the project, the changes in property values and the future projections, we felt that the project from a financial standpoint simply wasn’t feasible,” said Tim Dempsey, the East Lansing planning and community development director. Now the focus is turning to drawing up new proposals for the site and searching for new developers. The former development company Strathmore is no longer involved with the project going forward.

Resurfacing to be done on numerous roads within next few weeks

By Dana Casadei
Meridian Times staff writer

Starting on Sep. 26, many residential streets in the area will be getting resurfaced and starting the following week, Oct. 4, a liquid asphalt rejuvenator/sealer will be put on roads that have been resurfaced within the past few years. “The goal of the whole program is to make the existing pavements last longer,” said Raymond Severy, the Director of Public Works and Engineering for Meridian Township. “We’re doing minor things for them to last longer.”

The resurfacing is a two-step process, said Severy, first is the Hot In Place Recycling and then an additional inch of asphalt is added to the road, which will strengthen it.