2017-01-12 / Front Page

Major M-22 project set this summer

Leland to Glen Arbor
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

Residents and visitors to the Leelanau peninsula can expect delays in getting to their favorite spots this summer as nearly 13 miles of M-22 spanning four townships gets some much needed work.

The $6.5 million project covers 12.7 miles of the state highway from M-204 just south of Leland to Thoreson Road in Glen Arbor Township, which will be repaired and resurfaced.

The contract has been awarded to Team Elmers, with the work scheduled to begin on May 15 and run until Aug. 4.

The section of highway under repair also travels right past the Little Traverse Inn in Cleveland Township, a restaurant and bed and breakfast owned by Graeme Leask.

Leask said he did not know anything about the roadwork until he was contacted by the Enterprise.

“The state hadn’t let me know a darn thing,” Leask said. “It’s definitely going to issue some challenges. We’re in a fairly remote part of the county to begin with.”

ONE LANE OF northbound traffic crosses a new and old culvert at Ennis Creek in Leelanau Township as part the M-22 construction from Omena to Northport that started June 2, 2014. ONE LANE OF northbound traffic crosses a new and old culvert at Ennis Creek in Leelanau Township as part the M-22 construction from Omena to Northport that started June 2, 2014. Like many businesses in the county, his restaurant and six-room inn depends on tourist-related income.

“We need the summer to stay alive during the winter,” Leask said.

Most of the section of M-22 that will be repaired goes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Tom Ulrich, assistant superintendent of the Lakeshore, is taking a long-range view, saying the work is needed and he is glad it’s being done.

“At the time it’s going on our visitors, as well as those who live here, may be inconvenienced,” Ulrich said. “But in the long run it’s work that needs to be done.”

The project will be a pavement repair and asphalt overlay resurfacing project, according to James Lake, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The road shoulders are also being repaired and widened from 3 feet to 5 feet, which will make them consistent with the rest of the highway, Lake said.

And while the widened shoulders are not officially called bike lanes, they will add a little more room for those who like to bike M-22.

In some places the shoulders are completely crumbled, Ulrich said.

“That will undoubtedly make for a better experience for people who do ride on M-22,” Ulrich said.

The work will be done with single-lane closures under flag control, Lake said, with delays of less than 10 minutes expected for motorists.

It’s the largest project on a state highway in the county in several years.

Karen Kirt, a 5th and 6th grade teacher at Leland Public Schools, is race director for the third annual Kristie Memorial Triathlon set for June 17, an event started three years ago by Talia Yaakoby, who is now 15. The event commemorates her mother, Kristie Yaakoby, who died of cancer.

Two of the biking event routes come down Schomberg Road to the intersection of M-22 and then to Leland, using the highway for a little over a mile.

Kirt said the routes may have to be changed, but she’s hopeful that the work on that section will be done by the time the event takes place.

But a runner and biker herself, she welcomed the project.

“That section so badly needs to be fixed,” Kirt said. “I don’t like running or biking along that part of the road.”

The disappearing shoulder forces bikers out into the road, which angers drivers who don’t like to share the road.

“And there isn’t much to share,” Kirt said.

A five-mile section of M-22 from Omena to Northport was reconstructed and a culvert replaced at Lee Mann Road during the summer of 2014. The $3.8 million project had the state highway under single lane closures with delays until October.

Leask had a positive observation.

“Let’s hope it brings as much traffic at a slower pace,” he said.

That may give visitors a chance to get a better look at his restaurant and be inspired to stop.

Return to top

This improvement is very much

This improvement is very much needed to safeguard bikers and foot traffic. With a minimal shoulder, they are in harm's way particular at dawn and dusk when visibility can be impaired by the strobe effect created with the sun and trees. My guess is Little Traverse Inn and Market 22 will only be impacted for a short time. I would advise the owners to recommend to their patrons alternate travel along Bohemia and Maple City Roads. For those travelling further north to Leland and Suttons Bay, French Road is a good option.

I like Graeme's positive

I like Graeme's positive observation in light of this challenge to his business. We all need to support him and the other businesses impacted by this much needed project.