TRAVERSE CITY — A $1.1 million state funding allocation will pave the way for major reconstruction work on Lafranier Road.
County Road commission officials on Tuesday learned of the funding boost from the state’s “roads and risk” reserve fund. They submitted a Michigan Department of Transportation project certification form to lock up the funding that afternoon.
“That’s a huge deal,” county Commission Chair Herb Lemcool said.
Road commission officials recently debated whether to sideline Lafranier Road projects until next year over concerns that their organization — along with possible partner agencies like the county and Garfield Township — lacked the money needed to do the work.
Road commissioners ultimately excluded the road from a list of projects included their 2014 budget, but they did so while watching to see if state lawmakers would approve the special reserve funding.
Road officials said work now will began this year, with a goal of completing the project in early 2015.
Possible improvements include installation of a left turn lane from Ridge View Court to the county Health Department building; construction of a pedestrian path from South Airport road to Ridge View Court; and the creation of turnouts so Bay Area Transportation Authority bus drivers can pull aside at stops without blocking traffic.
Road commission Chair Marc McKellar said commission officials will ask Garfield Township and the county to contribute to the project, in addition to the $1.1 million from the state.
“We’re hoping to take it to a higher level of funding,” he said.
Lemcool said county officials will discuss matching funds with their road commission counterparts.
Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn could not be reached for comment.