2017-08-03 / Front Page

Good grades for M-22; work nearly done

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

By all accounts, the nearly 13-mile stretch of newly-paved M-22 highway provides a smooth — and wider — ride from start to finish.

That’s good news for joggers and bicyclists, as well as motorists.

“I think it’s turned out beautifully,” said Tim Stein, Cleveland Township supervisor. “The new five-foot shoulders, instead of the crumbling shoulders, are going to be a welcome addition to both motorists and cyclists.”

The $4.8 million Michigan Department of Transportation project included the resurfacing of 12.7 miles of M-22 from Duck Lake Road in Leland Township to Thoreson Road just south of Glen Arbor.

Stein lives on Traverse Lake Road and has been impacted by orange cones and traffic hold-ups on both ends of the road where it intersects with M-22. But that impact was minimal, he said.

“As far as the delays, I didn’t find them to be burdensome,” Stein said. “The crews that were directing traffic were very professional and they kept traffic moving well.”

Graeme Leask, owner of the Little Traverse Inn, agrees.

“The road looks great,” Leask said. “Other than when they’ve been right in front of us, they haven’t really disturbed traffic.”

Leask said his July numbers bear that out, as they are higher than in previous years.

The state highway has received widened shoulders, from three to five feet. While not technically bike lanes, the wider shoulders will give bikers a little more breathing room.

Work also included upgrades to guardrails, installation of recessed pavement markers and the addition of centerline rumble strips.

“It’s just fantastic that they are upgrading the road,” said Nick Amato, an avid cyclist.

Amato, of Suttons Bay, says the wider shoulders are something that bicyclists — and drivers — can appreciate.

“It’s mutually beneficial for bikers and drivers alike, because as a cyclist you try to ride off to the side of the road as much as you can,” Amato said.

When those shoulders are gone it can be dangerous, he said.

“There comes a point when you have a small road and small shoulders,” he said, which forces cyclists out closer to traffic, causing friction with drivers who sometimes get angry. The M-22 project was done by the Traverse Citybased Team Elmers, which submitted the lowest bid.

“Overall the project went well,” said Steve Endres, project manager. “There are always factors to overcome during construction like weather delays or equipment repairs, though those were minimal on this project. We appreciate the opportunity and we hope the community enjoys their new road.”

Tonya Wildfong, communications director for Elmers, said many of those doing the project live and work in the areas impacted by construction.

“We understand traffic delays and congestion can be challenging during construction,” Wildfong said. “We appreciate everybody’s patience during these needed repairs.”

The company is on schedule, with the majority of work expected to be done by Aug. 4, with final completion slated for Aug. 31, Wildfong said.

Crews this week were putting some of the finishing touches on the upgraded road. Paving was completed by Friday and road approaches — the recessed areas where roadways meet the highway — were expected to be done by tomorrow.

Centerline rumble strips were also to be installed by the end of this week.

Next week will see recess paint line installation, weather permitting, Wildfong said. The existing temporary tracer line striping will be ground down and recessed paint lines installed.

That work uses slow-moving vehicles with no lane closure, so drivers are asked to use caution when approaching workers, she said.

Late next week there will be one day of slope restoration with seeding and installation of an erosion control blanket along a shoulder section. That work will require a lane closure, Wildfong said.

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