With growth comes road work

The city of Marquette is planning traffic upgrades.

We know what you’re thinking: “More work on city roads? Just what we need.”

That’s understandable. In the city alone, roundabouts at Sugar Loaf Avenue and Wright Street, and Fair and Presque Isle avenues, are being constructed, with another one planned at Wright and Lincoln Avenue.

Grandview Marquette, the site of the former Holy Family Orphanage, is being built to provide rental units for low- to moderate-income individuals and families.

Then there’s the new UP Health System-Marquette and all the nearby related construction, such as yet another roundabout and a mitigation project at the Presque Isle Bog Walk.

All this work results in traffic backups and having to find alternate routes to destinations.

Of course, there are many smaller projects around town as well.

However, the upgrades shouldn’t cause a great deal of disruption, plus they have a good purpose.

The new traffic upgrades, according to City Manager Mike Angeli, are expected to involve energy savings, newer technology and better traffic flow.

The locations that will be affected are: West Magnetic and North Seventh streets, Pine Street and Fair Avenue, South Third Street and Baraga Avenue, Pine and Hewitt streets, the 600 block of College Avenue and various roundabouts.

For example, the overhead flashing stop signal at Pine and Fair will be removed, thereby changing from a four-way stop to a two-way stop in which travelers going eastbound and westbound won’t have a stop sign. Signs will remain on Pine for northbound and southbound traffic.

Also, the overhead flashing yellow and red signal at South Third and Baraga will be removed, although traffic control signage will remain.

It’s anticipated that not having flashing stop signals at certain intersections will save on energy costs.

Also, many intersections will become “smart intersections” that will have sensors in the pavement to detect the presence of traffic and appropriately adjust a light’s timing.

A city’s population changes, and with it, traffic. With such changes, a traffic plan can’t be the same as it was 50, or even 10, years ago.

With civic growth comes the necessity to adjust infrastructure, and we believe that with a little understanding and patience, local travelers will believe that as well.