MDOT Will Not Transfer M37 to Grand Traverse County

M37 at Old Mission Flowers, corner of Ladd Road | Jane Boursaw photo

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will not assign M37 / Center Road to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.

This jurisdiction issue has been under discussion since 2019 when Peninsula Township officially opposed the transfer for a number of reasons, including:

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  • Road Commission inaction to resolve multiple road problems on Old Mission Peninsula;
  • The fact that Old Mission Point Park and Lighthouse Park are state parks that require a state road;
  • The possibility of M37 funds being diverted to other roads in the county; and
  • The fact that M37 is a Pure Michigan Scenic Byway, a designation that would be dropped if the road were no longer under state jurisdiction. Read more here and here.

In an email to Rob Manigold, Head of Peninsula Township (forwarded to the Gazette today), Dan Wagner, Manager of Traverse City at MDOT, stated that MDOT will be working on a project to renew the surface of the M37, which will extend north of the city limits (“The Forks” at the intersection of Center Road and Peninsula Drive), which will likely end in the Mapleton area, depending on how far the funds go (+/- US $ 2 million). They hope that the project will be advertised in 2021 and that the work will take place during the 2022 construction season.

MDOT is also considering changes to the stretch of road that extends from US-31 to the city limits. Details are still being worked out, but this project would potentially include some geometric changes and improvements for pedestrians on this stretch of road.

Here is Wagner’s email to Manigold:

“As we discussed earlier, MDOT will not continue the transfer of ownership of M-37, largely due to the downstream impact of being a Pure Michigan Byway. I have also contacted the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and the City of Traverse City about this.

“We’re going to try to do a resurfacing project like the one previously planned for M-37. The project would begin on the northern traverse city limits and extend north, likely ending in the Mapleton area. The funds (+/- $ 2 million) that we have allocated will ultimately determine how far north we can get. We hope that the project will be tendered and committed in 2021 and that the actual work will take place in the 2022 construction season.

“We will also be programming a project for this part of the M-37 between US-31 and the northern city limits that would include some geometric changes as well as some improvements for pedestrians. I don’t currently have any details on this work. “

Thoughts on this news? Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.

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