Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 22, 2013

Highway bypass considered for TC

TRAVERSE CITY — Local officials are talking about rerouting the region’s state highways off Division Street and southeast of downtown Traverse City.

The officials, including Doug DeYoung, of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn, Grand Traverse County Commission Chairman Herb Lemcool and state Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, met about two weeks ago and discussed east-west traffic mobility — or lack thereof — in Traverse City. Part of that discussion focused on possibly rerouting U.S. 31 and M-37 off Division Street.

Korn said such a bypass would “solve a lot of problems for a lot of people.”

“Going through Traverse City is not good for the highway system, it’s not good for shippers and it’s not good for the people who live in Traverse City,” he said.

Korn said there are several ways such a bypass could occur. One potential scenario would route the state highways east onto Hartman and Hammond roads then north, possibly on Three Mile Road. That, though, would require construction of a Hartman-Hammond connector, something that has long been a contentious issue in the Grand Traverse region.

Local officials want to put the highway bypass idea on the Michigan Department of Transportation’s radar as officials from that agency start preparing their next five-year plan this fall, Lemcool said.

But DeYoung, who organized the meeting, said the officials involved did not settle on any proposed projects.

“It’s way premature to say moving U.S. 31 and M-37 is the plan,” DeYoung said. “There is no plan.”

The meeting instead focused on the best process for addressing the region’s east-west traffic problem, DeYoung said. That process, according to MDOT officials, needs to go through the Traverse City Area Transportation and Land Use Study, which performs traffic planning for the region.

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