2017-07-20 / Life in Leelanau

Construction Continues

M-22 project progress right on time; finish date just 15 days away
By Hannah Lentz
Enterprise intern


AN SUV drives north on M-22 near Good Harbor Trail. AN SUV drives north on M-22 near Good Harbor Trail. Relief is about two weeks away for motorists weary of traveling through M-22 lane closures.

The $6.5 million, 12.7-mile project is progressing right on schedule, according to a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and should be completed by an Aug. 4 deadline.

It begins south of Leland and extends nearly to Glen Arbor.

James Lake, a communications representative with MDOT, said construction workers have received positive responses from passersby along the construction route.

“People have been coming out of their homes and telling our workers about how excited they are to see the final result,” Lake said. “I think people are really excited about it.”

Neal Kokowicz, owner of Market 22 in Maple City, said he’s excited to see the final product.

Despite the construction, sales have not dropped off at Kokowicz’s store.


M-22 CONSTRUCTION should be complete by August, weather pending. M-22 CONSTRUCTION should be complete by August, weather pending. “The most important thing that I’ve noticed is improvements to the road, improvements that were needed,” Kokowicz said. “It’s the right thing to do right now, regardless of the season it’s falling in.”

Kokowicz, who lives just a mile down the road from Market 22, is thankful for the help of Elmer’s Team directing traffic to and from his store, especially as the area gets busier and busier, he said.

“I’m just about as local as you can get,” Kokowicz said. “It might be inconvenient, but it really is a needed construction project.”

Jim Sitko, originally from Milford, has been visiting Leelanau County for close to 50 years. He has owned a condo at The Homestead for 38 years and, especially during the summer months, travels on M-22 between Glen Arbor and Leland frequently.

Sitko said he’s noticed wear and tear on the road and is excited to see it addressed.

“The wide shoulder was sorely needed,” Sitko said. “The road was hazardous in spots with visibility obstructed by the rising and setting of the sun and is heavily used by bikers, hikers and joggers. Their safety should be paramount.”

A buffer between cars and pedestrians was a good touch, he said, especially as the number of distracted drivers on the road increases.

“Driving today on all roads is a fulltime mission,” he said. “With all the cell phones, sightseeing, sun and alcohol, extra precaution is necessary for driver and pedestrian alike. The safety path shoulder will provide the pedestrian with much more protection from what was there before.

“The investment was very prudent.”

A spokesperson for Team Elmer’s has noted such positive responses.

“We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding while we complete these road improvements on M-22,” said Steve Endres, Team Elmer’s Project Manager.

Meanwhile, the construction continues on county roads across Leelanau.

Crews with the Leelanau County Road Commission over the summer are sealcoating 40 miles of primary and secondary county roads. Parts of the work are contained within other, smaller projects and require prep work, like pavement wedging.

“Most of this work will be concentrated in the area north of Suttons Bay and on Lee Point,” said Dan Wagner, managing director. “One notable exception is County Road 643 from County Road 645, north to Lake Leelanau.”

Smaller projects like repaving or pavement overlay include reconstruction from County Road 641 west to Perrins Landing, reconstruction of a section of County Road 641 north of Bingham Road, and work on County Road 640 from Northcott Drive, a private road entering Northport Point extending east and north past Seven Pines Road to County Road 629. Plans are also in place to replace a road culvert on MacFarlane Road.

Projects requiring sealcoating will continue through August. They are highly dependent on weather, Wagner said.

Construction includes work on County Road 629 from Knollwood Drive to Cathead Bay Road, and on Putnam Road from Pobuda Road to County Road 626 (Omena Road).

“These are what we plan to accomplish this year,” Wagner said. “We also will have numerous other small projects throughout the county.”

The Road Commission is in the process of evaluating a budget impact report factoring in the pricing of materials, contracted services and revenue generated by the sale of surplus equipment, Wagner said.

“We are planning to add some additional paving projects but have not yet finalized that list,” Wagner said.

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