RIPLEY - Three Houghton County road improvements will be starting soon, with the short-term effect of traffic delays. The projects are:?
an $800,000 project to replace cross culverts on 3 miles of Airport Park Road from Hilltop Road to U.S. 41.
That section of the roadway will be closed to through traffic starting Monday. It will be open to local traffic only from 7 a.m. to dusk.
a $550,000 project on 1.7 miles of Centennial Heights Road from Spruce Street to U.S. 41.
"When culverts are being replaced, (Centennial Heights Road) will be closed sporadically throughout the project," said Houghton County Road Engineer Kevin Harju.
a $600,000 project on Chassell-Painesdale Road, 3.7 miles from U.S. 41 to Onkalos Corner.
"There should be just normal lane closures where traffic will be able to go through Chassell-Painesdale Road," Harju said.
The Airport Park Road work begins Monday, as might the Centennial Heights Road project. The Chassell-Painesdale Road project will start at a later date.
The Airport Park Road work was funded through federal Surface Transportation Fund money. Centennial Heights came from a grant from the Small Urban Program. The Chassell-Painesdale work came from federal Category D funding. All require a 20 percent match from the Road Commission.
The summer work for the Road Commission will be around $2 million, about twice that of a normal year, Harju said.
"Usually every two years we're able to capture the Small Urban Fund," he said. "The Category D funds are the result of the state essentially clearing their books for a new funding source. Federal Category D funds are no longer available, so we're spending a balance down in the Federal Category D fund that needed to be done by the end of the year."
The Category D fund was used for the construction of all-season roads with no weight restrictions used for purposes such as logging and trucking.
The Airport Park Road work in conjunction with state work on M-26 could lead to some bottlenecks between Dollar Bay and Hancock, Harju said.
Harju asked drivers to be patient with the work.
"The improvements are needed," he said. "We try not to be an inconvenience for the motoring public but still do the improvements."