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'Gateway' construction slated to start


Project aims to welcome visitors and slow traffic


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Orange barrels will dominate the section of Van Dyke (M-53) between I-69 and Newark Road for the next few weeks as Imlay City's 'gateway median' project gets underway. photo by Tom Wearing.

June 13, 2018
IMLAY CITY — Work is slated to begin on the city's new 'gateway median' project today (Wed., June 13).

MDOT official Keith Brown reported that the left lanes on Van Dyke (M-53) between Newark Rd. and I-69 will be closed for about two weeks to accommodate construction of the median.

The 10-12-foot wide median will be constructed in the unused center turn lane between the two points.

Brown, who serves as MDOT's Davison-based Operations Engineer, said he expects the project to be completed by late June.

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Once finished, the boulevard will feature a "welcome sign," brick pavers, curb and gutters, decorative LED lighting and landscaping to include perennials and grasses.

The $180,732 project was engineered by The Spicer Group and the construction bid was awarded to Sajdak Contractors of Prudenville, MI.

Imlay City Manager Tom Youatt said the project will not only welcome visitors to the city, but have the added benefit of slowing down traffic in the area.

"That center lane had been wasted space," said Youatt. "We wanted to create a visually appealing green space for people entering the city and this project accomplishes that goal.

"Public safety is always a concern and a priority for the city," he continued. "We think the median will calm traffic flow there."

Youatt said the 'welcome sign' will not be installed until July and plantings will take place in early fall.

"The perennials won't be planted before late August or early September," he said. "Conditions will be better at that time."

When Imlay City Commissioners approved the gateway project last August, construction cost was estimated to be $150,000-$200,000; which was consistent with the city's M-53 Corridor Plan.

East M-21 upgrades

Youatt noted that repairs to a severely deteriorated section of Capac Rd. (M-21), east of Van Dyke to the city limit, are also coming soon.

He said the $250,000 project will begin in July and involve the milling and resurfacing of the stretch of highway.

Youatt pointed out that most of the M-21 project's cost will be covered through a pair of grants awarded the city.

They include: a federal grant totaling $146,500 from the Federal Surface Transportation Fund; and a $65,400 grant from MDOT'S Transportation Economic Development Fund.

"We always try to take advantage of grant funding to pay for projects when it becomes available," said Youatt.

While it remains uncertain if and when more grant funds will become available, the Michigan Legislature in March approved an extra $175 million dedicated for road improvements.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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