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E-M:/ Defeated I-73: MDOT finally fixing an existing road instead of building a new one!



March 28, 2002

TO: Enviro-mich
FROM: Kelly Thayer, Michigan Land Use Institute
Re: Defeated I-73 and road repair


Defeated I-73:
MDOT finally fixing an existing road instead of building a new one!

Hi Folks:

If you're anywhere near southeast or southern Michigan, you'll remember the Michigan Department of Transportation's plan in 2001 to build a new Interstate-73 for 60 miles between Jackson and Toledo. Citizens beat back that bad idea. Now MDOT is announcing that it is doing what residents wanted all along - fixing the existing highways and upgrading them for better safety. (See MDOT press release below, along with my posting of June 2001 regarding the road's defeat.)

Fixing roads first makes good economic sense and spares the environment from pavement and sprawl. And a healthy environment, in turn, spurs the tourist and recreational economy. For these reasons, the Michigan Land Use Institute and the Michigan Environmental Council direct a statewide coalition of groups dedicated to see that Michigan fixes its roads first and provides world-class public transit. For more information on the Michigan Transportation & Land Use Coalition, please visit this section of the Institute web site:
http://www.mlui.org/html/keyissues/transportation.html

Thank you,
Kelly

.....................................................................

MDOT press release...
For Immediate Release: March 26, 2002
Contact: Kari Debnar Office of Communications 517-780-0406
E-Mail: Debnark@michigan.gov

Projects using remaining I-73 study funds announced
Projects along US-127 and US-223 will improve safety and traffic flow
The Michigan Department of Transportation and U.S. Rep Nick Smith announced today that the $2.9 million remaining from the I-73 feasibility study will be used to partially fund two projects and a study of operational improvements in Lenawee and Jackson counties.

"By being able to reapportion the remaining funds left from the I-73 study, we are able to make safety and road improvements as early as this year," said Smith (R-Addison). "That's exciting news for residents and motorists."

In 2001, a determination was made to not proceed with the second phase of the I-73 study, which included environmental clearance. The first phase, an 18-month study examining the possibility of a new road in southeast Michigan, would have linked Toledo, Ohio to Jackson, Mich.

The two projects paid for with the remaining I-73 study funds and state matching funds are:
1. US-223 in Blissfield between the east and west city limits. Improvements include pavement repairs and diamond grinding to smooth the roadway. Work will be completed in 2002 at a cost of $1.6 million.
2. US-127 south of M-50 between Jefferson Road and Whetherby Road. Improvements include widening for a center left-turn lane along the 1.1- mile stretch of roadway. Work will take place in 2003 at a cost of $1.8 million.

In addition, MDOT will use any remaining funds to conduct a detailed analysis of the US-223 and US-127 corridors to identify and prioritize future safety and operational improvements.

The decision not to proceed with the second phase was based on questions regarding funding and the time needed to proceed beyond the environmental process into design, right-of-way acquisition and construction. It was determined that too much time would elapse and the funds would be better spent on more immediate safety improvements.

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Subject: E-M:/ MDOT postpones further study along I-73 between Jackson &
  Toledo
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June 12, 2001

To: Enviro-Mich
From: Kelly Thayer, Michigan Land Use Institute


MDOT postpones further study along I-73 between Jackson & Toledo

Hi Folks:

The Michigan Department of Transportation just announced today that it is "postponing" further study of the proposed Interstate-73 between Jackson and Toledo. (See MDOT press release below.) This is a huge victory for those who have organized thousands of citizens in southern Michigan against this bad idea.

Two leading organizers against I-73 are
Rob Oreskovich 734-854-8395     
Cindy Eicholtz 517-423-3226

In its press release, MDOT says it lacks the money to build the billion-dollar project now and instead will improve safety on the existing highways between Jackson and Toledo.

Citizens all along have called for upgrading existing roads to enhance safety, reduce congestion, protect open space, and save hundreds of millions of dollars. The state finally got the message on I-73. The next step should be for MDOT to kill this project instead of just postponing it.

Below is a state Department of Transportation press release from today with a link to its I-73 web site...

Kelly Thayer
Transportation Project Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute


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Date:         Tue, 12 Jun 2001 11:03:28 -0500
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              interested customers." <MDOT-PRESSRELEASES@LISTSERV.STATE.MI.US>
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              interested customers." <MDOT-PRESSRELEASES@LISTSERV.STATE.MI.US>
From:         lovettec@mdot.state.mi.us
Subject:      [MDOT-PRESSRELEASE] MDOT postpones further studies along I-73
              corridor
To:           MDOT-PRESSRELEASES@LISTSERV.STATE.MI.US
X-RCPT-TO: <kelly@mlui.org>

For Immediate Release: June 12, 2001

Contact: Kari Debnar Office of Communications 517-780-7510
                E-Mail:  Debnark@mdot.state.mi.us


MDOT postpones further studies along I-73 corridor
Remaining funds will be used for safety improvements along US-127 and US-223

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced it will not proceed with the environmental clearance phase of the I-73 corridor study. Instead, the remaining $2.9 million will be used for safety improvements along the US-127 corridor between M-50 and US-12, and along US-223 in Lenawee County.

        "The department is suspending the study process until we believe adequate funding exists to proceed into design, right-of-way acquisition and construction," said State Transportation Director Gregory J. Rosine. "We will continue to work with local communities and the Ohio Department of Transportation to coordinate future improvements."

        MDOT recently completed an 18-month feasibility study examining the possibility of a new expressway in southeast Michigan. I-73 would link Jackson, Michigan with Toledo, Ohio. Federal High Priority Project funding was identified for both the feasibility and environmental portion of the study.

        "At this time, the remaining funds would be better spent on safety improvements to the US-127 and US-223 corridors," said University Region Engineer Thom Davies. "This will allow us to make improvements to address specific areas that were identified within the I-73 feasibility study."

        The types of projects on which funding will be spent include safety and minor operational improvements.

        The decision not to proceed with the environmental clearance process was influenced by the knowledge that it would be many years before a project like I-73 would successfully compete for funding to advance past the environmental stage.

         In the interim, MDOT will continue to address operational and safety issues within the context of the existing statewide program. Any improvements made in the corridor will be constructed so they don't interfere with any of the options that the completed feasibility study identified as worthy of further analysis.

        The Ohio Department of Transportation faced a similar situation and also delayed the start of its environmental process for its portion of the I-73 study.



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For more information on the I-73 feasibility study, check out MDOT's project Web site at http://www.mdot.state.mi.us/I-73.
Metro,University

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*************************************
Mr. Kelly Thayer
Transportation Project Manager
Michigan Land Use Institute

205 South Benzie Boulevard
P.O. Box 500, Beulah, MI 49617
(231) 882-4723

Ph: 231-882-4723
Fax: 231-882-7350
E-mail: kelly@mlui.org
Internet: http://www.mlui.org/