BY MATT TROUTMAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Jacki Newhouse grew up in a neighborhood off Holiday Road, and its bumps, dips and potholes-within-potholes have long been a headache.
She works at GJ's pizza and convenience store at the corner of Holiday and Five Mile roads, and lives nearby. Problems with the road surface never seems to get solved.
"It's always been 'temporarily' fixed," Newhouse said.
Temporary fixes may soon be a thing of the past, as the Grand Traverse County Road Commission this spring launches a $1.6 million road reconstruction project.
James Johnson, county highway engineer, said the project is scheduled to start May 13. It spans about two miles of Holiday Road and stretches east through the hills from Five Mile Road until the road turns to gravel.
"Anything that’s paved now, it's our intent to crush and shape it," he said.
The road plan also includes sewer and drainage improvements and a guardrail for the road drop-off near the Mt. Holiday Ski Area.
Renee Kaufman has long lobbied for a major fix to the road used by 1,200 residents in the area through the Fix Our Roads committee. Previous chances to fund a smoother ride were rejected by property owners in Acme and East Bay townships who were unwilling to bear the cost of special assessment districts to fund road construction.
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians provided a vital assist to the cause in 2012.
Robert Kalbfleisch, the tribe’s land and roads manager, said all major county roads are tribal transportation routes, a designation that allowed it to secure federal funding for Holiday Road.
"I think the tribe is happy, I think everybody is happy it’s being done this year," he said. "Even with all the potholes we've had this winter, Holiday Road seems like it always gets lots of attention."
Kalbfleisch said the tribe had an interest in fixing the road because several members live in the area or visit the ski resort with its youth groups, but the Fix Our Road group was a major factor in the decision.
"I’m very happy to see this come to fruition," Kaufman said. "I'm so grateful to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Without them, I'm not sure this road would get taken care of."
Johnson said no detours are likely during construction and roadwork is expected to be substantially complete in July.
Project bids are due April 9 and the Grand Traverse County Road Commission will take a recommendation during its April 25 regular meeting.