2017-09-28 / Front Page

Double up road work

Backups on M-22 and county road
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


COUNTY ROAD 641 on Monday remained under heavy construction just north of Bingham Road. COUNTY ROAD 641 on Monday remained under heavy construction just north of Bingham Road. With two major north-to-south thoroughfares in Leelanau County getting end-of-season roadwork, some drivers’ may find their patience stretched to the limit.

More than 700 concrete joints are being replaced on a nine-mile stretch of M-22 from Lake View Hills Road at the northern edge of Elmwood Township and goes to Fourth Street in Suttons Bay Village.

Drivers are seeing delays of up to 10 minutes.

Another project on South Lake Leelanau Drive just north of the Bingham Road intersection has closed the road, with drivers being sent on a detour to Center Highway.

Work includes repaving of the road along with grade and curve adjustments, drainage improvements and new guardrail.

The routes represent two of three north-south routes available to drivers on the east side of Lake Leelanau. Work is scheduled to continue to the end of October.

Joan Bumgardner, a receptionist for Suttons Bay dentist Dr. Michael H. Rummel, only lives three miles down M-22 but has been taking the back roads and alternate routes.

“If I can avoid M-22 I do,” Bumgardner said.

She also makes sure her patients coming from Traverse City know the back way, she said.

“If you happen to get caught in the unfortunate loop of having to sit there and wait, it’s been about a 10 minute wait,” Bumgardner said.

Traffic on Center Highway has also been pretty heavy, she said, as the road is being used as a detour for both projects.

Dan Wagner, managing director of the Leelanau County Road Commission, said he handled a few phone calls from concerned people when the M-22 project started, but none since.

“We really haven’t been getting any complaints,” Wagner said.

And the finished areas that Wagner has driven on are very nice, he said.

Dave Buchanan, owner of Shady Lane Market on M-22 in Bingham Township, said he has seen a dip in business since the roadwork started.

“A lot of people are just avoiding this general direction so you can just see how sales are down,” Buchanan said. “Most people are a little bit frustrated.”

While Buchanan hasn’t heard too many gripes from customers, delivery drivers have been complaining about delays from having to wait in traffic.

“I don’t think the customers are as upset because they can take the back roads,” he said.

People have long complained about the pitted concrete joints on that section of M-22, which is the oldest in the county, having been built in about 1952. Several of the joints were cut out and replaced in 2015 and 2016.

The M-22 work is being done by C&D Hughes Inc. of Charlotte. The $1.47 million Michigan Department of Transportation job is expected to continue until Nov. 3, weather permitting.

But Wagner said the company has doubled up and is working on more than one section at a time, which is more inconvenient to drivers, to shorten the work time. In fact, he said, the company is on track to finish ahead of its deadline.

The South Lake Leelanau Drive project is mostly being done by the Road Commission, with the paving being done by Elmers. Work is expected to be done by the end of October, Wagner said.

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