The U.S. 41 Corridor Committee -which has member communities from Harvey to Michigamme- has crafted a preliminary draft wish list of improvements for the busy traffic corridor the highway services in Marquette Township.
The panel said the property along the 2.7 miles of highway has "been subject to progressive development pressure over the course of the past two decades."
"This corridor has become the regional retail and entertainment hub for the entire Upper Peninsula," the group's draft request stated. "As such, several local governments have unified to request special funding assistance to mitigate various traffic and public safety issues that have manifested themselves as a result of this rapid development."
Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard said about $10 million in state discretionary funding is said to be available for roads. The corridor committee hopes to acquire some of that money to direct toward those wish list projects, which would be developed through the Michigan Department of Transportation.
A final version of the request is expected to be submitted in about a month.
Meanwhile, an MDOT study of the corridor is looking at some of the same traffic and safety issues. Another effort has been under way to produce a regional traffic study, which would include the township business corridor.
We think all of these efforts are good things that are happening. We also think they are related and interconnected and all have benefits. There have been numerous property damage accidents in the busy traffic corridor and making improvements, like those outlined by the corridor committee, are sensible and necessary.
Given the history of the development of the property along the highway in that part of the county, commercial endeavors are not likely to decrease there any time soon.
Making improvements, including extending the grassy median and creating more "Michigan left" turns will help ensure that the corridor will be safer for travel, even as development there expands.
We hope Lansing lawmakers will see their way to directing some of the discretionary funding toward these local requests to enhance transportation in Marquette Township and the region as a whole.
The increasing traffic problems of tomorrow need to be addressed today.