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What is the draft purpose and need for this project?
The purpose of the project will address the following:
- Reduce current traffic congestion and commute delays, and vehicle crashes.
- Accommodate projected traffic growth from commercial and housing developments in the vicinity.
- Incorporate continuous pedestrian and nonmotorized transportation.
- Address declining pavement and culvert conditions.
- Address legislative intent and funding for the project.
- Develop improvements compatible with adjacent topography and continuation of the roadway design to the north.
The need for the project is based on the following factors:
Traffic volumes: The existing roadway is not adequate to support current traffic volumes or projected increases.
Growth and development: There is a projected increase in both population and jobs north and south of the project area.
Safety: High-crash intersections have been identified along the study corridor, particularly the 84th Street intersection.
Pedestrian and nonmotorized connectivity: Current sidewalks and nonmotorized trails are not continuous along the study segment.
Pavement and culvert condition: This segment of M-37 was built in the early 1950s with various improvements since that time, and pavement and culverts are approaching the end of their useful lifespans.
Access to adjacent land uses: Traffic volume increases and changes in adjacent land uses have resulted in access challenges.
What alternatives is MDOT considering for this project?
Baseline (no-build) option: This alternative matches the existing two or three lanes from 92ns Street to the existing boulevard north of 76th street and includes a short, four-lane boulevard centered around 84th Street. This alternative has minimal environmental and right of way (ROW) impacts but does not address traffic congestion or crashes throughout the M-37 project area.
Five-lane option: This alternative widens the two- or three-lane segment to five lanes without medians, with a proposed four-lane boulevard centered around 84th Street. This alternative has some environmental and ROW impacts but significantly reduces traffic congestion and crashes compared to the baseline option. However, it is less effective at crash reduction and managing access to/from adjacent land uses than the boulevard option.
Four-lane boulevard option: This alternative turns the entire segment into a four-lane boulevard, with median crossovers for left turns at 92nd Street, 84th Street, and 76th Street. This alternative has some environmental impacts and additional ROW impacts but significantly reduces traffic congestion and crashes compared to the baseline option. This is the preferred alternative.
What are the project study limits?
The study segment is 2.7 miles of M-37 (Broadmoor Avenue) in Kent County, from south of 92nd Street in the village of Caledonia to north of 76th Street where the existing M-37 widens into a four-lane boulevard in Caledonia Township. View a map of the environmental assessment limits and project area.
What is the timeline for the project?
MDOT is planning to request bids for the project in fall 2024. Construction is anticipated to start in the spring 2025.
How is the project being funded?
The project will be funded from Enrolled Senate Bill No. 565 that allocates $40 million to support this project, along with other federal, state, metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and county funds, primarily derived from the tax on the sale of gasoline and diesel and vehicle registration fees.
Why is the project ending at 92nd Street, and not continuing further south to 100th Street or 108th Street?
The project does currently include operational improvements south of 92nd Street, with a new southbound lane ending at Emmons Street, and a new northbound lane beginning just south of 92nd Street. This work will significantly improve traffic operations at the M-37/92nd Street intersection.
The need for additional operational improvements is reduced to the south of 92nd Street, as many vehicles turn off to side streets north of 92nd Street and traffic volumes decrease toward the south.
MDOT’s budget is limited and does not include funding for additional improvements outside of the current project limits at this time. This project will not preclude future improvements.
What is an environmental assessment (EA)?
An EA is a process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for federally funded projects when the significance of the environmental impacts are uncertain. The EA for this project will include detailed study of potential impacts and mitigation measures for:
- Streams/drains and floodplains
- Threatened and endangered species
- Agriculture: One parcel along the study segment is protected farmland by Michigan Public Act (PA) 116, the Michigan Farmland and Open Space Preservation Act
- Parks and potential 4(f)/6(f) properties. These include the Caledonia Community Green Park, the nonmotorized path from the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail connector in Lakeside Park to 84th Street, and the nature preserve
- Cultural/historic resources above and below ground
- Contaminated sites
How will this impact the trail next to M-37, and what pedestrian facilities will be included?
The trail will be impacted by the widening of M-37 and the segment adjacent to the new roadway will be rebuilt as part of this project. Other pedestrian facilities will be considered and included as determined by the stakeholders.
Why is the through-movement on 76th Street at M-37 being closed instead of adding a traffic signal?
As the area continues to grow along with traffic volumes, the ability to make the through- and some turning movements at this intersection is limited. As part of the early operational analysis of this area, various options were investigated to better manage this movement, including adding traffic signal control or replacing the through-movement with a restricted crossing U-turn (Michigan Left) intersection. A signal warrant study pursuant to the volume requirements defined in the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) was completed and revealed that there were not sufficient traffic volumes to meet the warrants for signalization at this time. Therefore, a signal was not included, and the restricted crossing U-turn intersection was chosen based on safety. These improvements can result in safer crossing and turning movements.
The traffic data in the study is pre-pandemic. Why isn’t newer data being used?
The 2019 data was used since it was the latest traffic data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home restrictions to minimize spread of the disease. 2020 and 2021 saw significant declines in all traffic data around the state and area, and do not reflect the travel characteristics of the area to base future traffic growth on. Multiple years of data are also used to identify trends, as reflected in the purpose and need statements. Current volumes are now approaching pre-COVID levels, and some additional counts may be taken at specific locations.
When is the EA expected to be completed?
How can I stay informed on this project and are there opportunities for public feedback?