Marquette Township US 41 underpass project has merit

Plans to run a non-motorized underpass beneath U.S 41 in Marquette Township appear, at a glance, at least, to have merit.

The concept to place the underpass in a location that connects the south Noquemanon Trail Network to the Little Presque Isle public trail system is one that has been discussed at various points in the past. Key among potential stumbling blocks has been funding.

In this latest iteration, the underpass would be sited east of the Menard’s store. It would be 20 feet wide and 150 feet long, a Mining Journal story on the matter, detailed. Overall, costs have been projected at $1.5 million to $2 million with the township portion of that amount estimated at $400,000 to $500,000.

Township officials have said construction, if it happens, would likely take place in conjunction with expected Michigan Department of Transportation work planned in the area in 2019 and 2021. That, theoretically at least, would lower costs.

The Marquette Township Board has directed that an easement permitting construction be obtained and that work to determine funding sources continue.

Again, at a glance, there is a lot to like about this project. Connecting both trail networks makes sense, especially given the fact that the area and region goes to significant lengths to market itself as something of a non-motorized trail paradise.

As it always has been, though, the funding package is the key. We trust township officials will decide on one that doesn’t see a large bill visited upon the residents of the township.