2017-05-18 / Front Page

Expect delays on M-22

Summer long project underway
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


LOCAL TRAFFIC waits for oncoming cars to pass along M-22. Construction is expected to continue on the road until Aug. 31. LOCAL TRAFFIC waits for oncoming cars to pass along M-22. Construction is expected to continue on the road until Aug. 31. Neal Kokowicz, owner of Market 22 on M-22, says his market and deli will be like a shining beacon for those people who will be slowed by construction and decide they need a Coke, ice cream cone or pizza.

Kokowicz, unlike some drivers caught in delays that have lasted 10 minutes and longer, talks positively about the summer-long project to resurface nearly 13 miles of the state highway that started Monday.

“I’m not disrupted at all,” Kokowicz said. “The road needs to be improved. People need to go slower on M-22 anyway.”

The work, which began Monday, requires lane closures with flag control. Access to homes and businesses will be open at all times, said James Lake, The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) spokesperson.

In all, 12.7 miles will be resurfaced from the intersection of M-22 and M-204 at Duck Lake Corners to Thoreson Road south of Glen Arbor.

MDOT is spending $4.8 million on the project, which includes widening paved shoulders of the road from three to five feet to make them consistent with the rest of M-22, Lake said. The widening will give bicycle riders a little more room.

Work also includes guardrail upgrades, recessed pavement markers and the addition of centerline rumblestrips.

Dan and Lauren Yannantuono of Glen Arbor were stopped yesterday in a traffic delay caused by the project. They have been caught in lane closures several times while traveling from their summer home in Glen Arbor to Suttons Bay, they said.

They had read about the road work delays and expected some slower traffic times.

“We’ve looked at some alternate routes along the way,” Dan Yannantuono said.

The project should add a degree of safety with the installation of 900 roadside delineation markers. The markers, which are used commonly on expressways, are 3 inches wide and 12 inches tall and will be placed along the right side of the road about every 150 feet.

“This is our safety initiative that we’re working on in northern Michigan,” Lake said.

About 75 percent of fatal crashes in northern Michigan are due to lane departures, with vehicles going off the side of the road or crossing the centerline, Lake said.

“These are two safety features designed to help prevent those types of crashes.”

Work had begun at Duck Lake Corner and is proceeding in the southbound lane. When that lane is done, crews will head back up the northbound lane.

Roadwork is estimated to continue until Aug. 31.

Eric McColley of Traverse City has been working in construction for several years although yesterday was his first day working along the M-22 zone. Though he has observed some upset drivers experiencing wait times along the route, most drivers have been understanding about the delays.

“I’ve only seen about two or so people drive off and turn around to go another way,” McColley said.

McColley is hopeful that the project will move along quickly so that people can get to where they need to be.

“If the paver gets going quicker things will be a lot better,” McColley said. “We’ve had some issues with it today so I hope we can get that going soon.”

Team Elmers of Traverse City is the general contractor.

Kokowicz said he’s glad that a local company got the job, as he says Team Elmers is timely and efficient. He expects the project to be completed before the Aug. 31 end date.

“M-22 needs to get paved,” Kokowicz said. “It needs to be done. It’s dangerous. As a local full-time resident I see the need for it.”

— Hannah Lentz contributed to this story.

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