By Sterling McGinn
At the December 13 meeting of the Luce County Road Commission Board, Luce County Road Engineer and Manager Stuart McTiver said a potential lack of grant funding from the State of Michigan may delay the paving of county roads 410 and 407.
“At this time, there is a concern as to whether there will be any more funding for this year,” explained McTiver.
Although a grant totaling six million dollars had been awarded previously, additional grant funds were expected and are needed to move the project forward. The commission had noted at a previous meeting that construction would not take place unless 100 percent of the funding was secured.
With the grant written by Deer Park resident John Waltman, the commission has about one third of the required funds. The paving project was estimated at $17 million. It was also explained in previous meetings that no Luce County money would be used to pave the two roads.
Though paving would not commence if additional funding were not received, the previously awarded funds through a State of Michigan EDC grant will be used for groundwork and safety projects on the affected roads to prepare them for paving when the rest of the funds become available.
“We are looking at it with a consultant to retool the project to at least get some benefit on the route,” McTiver said. The grant already awarded can only be used toward the proposed road improvement project. “Essentially, it would be a safety project,” he said.
One safety benefit would be the relocation of the 410 intersection on 407 near Perch Lake. The intersection would be moved farther up the hill on the straight stretch, giving drivers better sight distance.
Horizontal road alignment changes taking away sharp road curves is also a benefit in using the grant funds.
County Road 407 would be realigned to move the road away from the Lake Superior State Campground, near Perry’s Landing, giving some separation between the park and the road.
“These would all be a benefit to the road itself,” McTiver said. “If at some time in the future there is a potential of making it into a paved road, then all of the horizontal alignment work, and the coordination with all of the state entities would be taken care of.”
This would also include the work that has been put in to get an environmental permit for the dune and wetland areas along the route, which would allow the commission to proceed with the road improvement in those areas.
There was no official announcement that the funding is not available, and no board action regarding the road project was taken at the meeting.