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Updated Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 06/25/14
BRING BACK ACCESS. Above, Bruce Township Supervisor Richard Cory talks with residents about three options presented by the Michigan Department of Transportation to restore access to 33 Mile Road from M-53.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
Bruce applies to MDOT for
access to 33 Mile Rd
by CHRIS GRAYWith support from numerous businesses, the Bruce Township Board of Trustees is applying for access to M-53 from 33 Mile Road.
Observer Staff Writer
Following a public hearing held June 18, the board voted 5-0 to submitting an application to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to restore access to the bypass with a two-lane road.
Supervisor Richard Cory said access to 33 Mile Road used to exist, but when M-53 was installed it was removed. Since 2009, the township has worked with county and state officials to restore it.
"We finally got MDOT to agree to at least draw up some plans for some ideas," he said.
The first idea was two cloverleaf ramps, but Cory said this was too complicated and expensive. The second option would be to install a two-lane deceleration road to exit onto 33 Mile Road at McKay Road.
The third option was taking down the bridge over M-53 and make it at-grade, similar to what is seen at 30 Mile Road. Cory said this would entail possibly paying back the $2 million spent by federal sources to build the bridge.
"They would probably want their money back," Cory said.
Both options would install crossover turns north and south of 33 Mile Road so drivers could change directions.
Option two would cost around $4 to $5 million and option three would be more due to the bridge. The township would not pay for any part of the project.
Cory said either change would reduce truck traffic on 34 Mile Road and the bypass as well as on 32 Mile and Powell roads to help make them safer.
"Instead of all these trucks driving all over the place . . . it will be just a simple on and off," he said.
Prior to the public hearing, Bruce officials sat down with representatives from Armada Township and the Village of Romeo to discuss the options. Both communities gave their support for access.
Armada Township Supervisor John Paterek supported option two at the public hearing, adding it will help grow tax bases in industrial zones.
"What 10 jobs or 20 jobs will do for a community is stellar," he said. "Without that ingress/egress I think we're going to hinder the development of that whole area."
Nearly all of the 11 other people that spoke during the hearing supported option two, such as Roger Walker of Sharp Tooling Solutions. He said access will help the 70 percent of the employees that travel down Van Dyke.
"We're living it everyday and this is good for everybody," he said.
Nick Rinke, president of Blue Water Trucking, said access provided by option two would reduce fuel costs and improve safety for trucking.
"I think it's a huge advantage for the long-term of the roads and the structure of the roads," he said.
Justin Racz of Racz Building and Development, who recently received approval for establishing a senior living community at Powell and 33 Mile Road, supported it as well, saying safe access is needed.
"It was a travesty when we lost the access when we all had it," he said. "This is the appropriate option and we support it."
George VanHoutte of VanHoutte Farms supported the second option as well, especially with his operations on 33 Mile Road east of M-53.
"I'm for keeping the bridge there because we farm on the other side of the bridge," he said.
Not all were in favor of the project. Mike Adams, a resident, said he understands why local businesses support it, but worries where traffic will go during rush hour times with access to 33 Mile Road.
"McKay on 33 is going to become the secondary bypass that MDOT didn't do properly in the first place," he said.
Clerk Susan Brockmann said MDOT officials described the change as an easy project, though it wouldn't likely begin in May 2015 since MDOT needs permission from the federal government to make the changes.
"They have some federal red tape to get through," she said.
Aside this, she said MDOT isn't clear on whether the exit lanes would line up with McKay Road, especially since a meter pit for the township's water system is located there.