Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

June 4, 2013

Hartman-Hammond bridge back on agenda

TRAVERSE CITY — The public may have to cross that bridge again.

A decade-old, contentious proposal to build a Hartman-Hammond roads span over the Boardman River is expected to be revisited Wednesday during a 6 p.m. joint meeting of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and board of county commissioners in the Governmental Center.

Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn wants the county board to delay the demolition of the Boardman Dam and Cass Road Bridge that sits atop the dam while the road commission investigates the potential for connecting Hartman and Hammond roads across the river. Korn began to champion the idea last fall, and found an ally on the county board.

“Chuck Korn and I are pushing to not do the bridge at Cass Road, but do the Hartman-Hammond Bridge where it was designed to go in the first place,” said Herb Lemcool, Garfield Township representative and county board chairman. “It will increase the natural area where the dam is now and give a great east-west mobility connection for the community.”

The road commission began studying the bridge in the late 1990s to improve cross-town traffic. It drew stiff opposition from environmental and land use groups.

The debate raged until late 2004 when the road commission shelved the project. Bridge funds were reauthorized in 2005 to fund The Grand Vision land use and traffic study, which commenced in 2007 and took almost four years to complete. The report recommended the Hartman-Hammond connection remain tucked away until a future date.

Some road commissioners agree it’s time to take another look at Hartman-Hammond, but not at the Cass Road bridge’s expense.

The road commission asked that the committee that oversees the removal of three dams on the Boardman River take the Boardman Dam next, while it has funding to replace the bridge. The county has a $3 million state grant, along with U.S. Army Corps of Engineer funding and a recent $350,000 grant for bridge design it’s likely to accept today.

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