MARQUETTE - In approving the alignment Monday for new road work on county roads 510 and Triple A, the Marquette County Road Commission released maps and other information showing the planned improvements.
Roughly 11 miles of roadway will be worked on at a cost of $20.8 million. The route will connect Marquette County Road 550 with the Eagle Mine in Michigamme Township. The Lundin Mining Corp. - which is funding the construction - will use the route to truck ore from the mine to the Humboldt Mill.
Road commission engineer-manager James Iwanicki recommended the commission board approve a plan revised since last month after comments were received from the public. An additional public information meeting will be held when engineering plans are 70 percent complete.
The sharp “Peek-a-boo Corner” along the Triple A Road will be removed under a new alignment planned for a road construction project near Big Bay. Work on the roughly 11-mile project is expected to begin next spring, with some preliminary work potentially begun this winter. (Journal photo by John Pepin)
Heading west from County Road 550, over roughly 2.5 miles to the "Blind 35" area, several changes were made after requests from the public to help preserve the tree canopy and the rustic character of the country road.
Among those requests, the road commission will use the existing centerline alignment, stay within the existing right-of-way and use a narrower road section with lanes 12 feet wide, paved shoulders three feet wide and curb where needed.
In an effort to try to meet public requests while addressing maintenance and safety, tree cutting and clearing will be limited to 10 feet on each side of the existing roadway.
Continuing west, the construction plans include several changes for safety including removing a sharp corner south at Blind 35, avoiding the intersection of County Road 510 and Triple A Road and a sharp turn at "Peek-a-boo Corner."
In this area, the road will be realigned with a 55 mph design speed to address safety and maintenance concerns. The road will have lanes 12 feet wide, paved shoulders three feet wide and gravel shoulders measuring five feet each.
Farther west, as the road crosses from Powell Township into Champion Township, the construction will use as much of the existing footprint as possible and all of the widening of the road will be to the north of the existing road, to meet public requests.
To minimize environmental impacts, wetlands will be avoided as much as possible.
Over a section of the road from near the Dodge City Road intersection to a point east of Pinnacle Falls Road, rerouting will avoid the Camp 6 Hill for safety and maintenance concerns. Sharp corners will be removed with this alignment. The design speed of 55 mph will continue.
Wetlands will be avoided and three culverts along the East Branch of the Salmon Trout River will be removed and replaced with a single bridge.
Continuing west past the Pinnacle Falls Road intersection, all widening of the road will be to the south of the existing road and the design will incorporate the entire existing footprint as requested by the public.
From a point east of Bob's Lake Road west toward the Michigamme Township boundary, all widening of the road will be to the north of the existing road footprint.
The final section of road work will cross into Michigamme Township and tie into a project ongoing to the gate of the Eagle Mine. Here, unnecessary curves will be removed from the road. The 55 mph design speed will be used.
Iwanicki said in a memo to the road commission board that higher-speed designs require longer sweeping curves, steeper curve banking, longer sight distances and more gentle hill crests and valleys than a lower-speed design.
Iwanicki said design speed is not necessarily the maximum safe speed someone could drive on a section of roadway; it may be higher or lower. Design speed is used by engineers to determine geometric features of a road during design, Iwanicki said.
More information on the construction work, including a previous project map and answers to questions posed by the public is available at the website www.co.marquette.mi.us/departments/road_commission/county_road_510_and_aaa_improvements.htm.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.