September 19, 2019 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a state transportation economic development fund grant that will support 297 new jobs in Eaton County. The Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant totaling $502,443 will help leverage nearly $115 million in private investment, at a private/public investment ratio of more than 228-to-1.
Auto-Owners Insurance Co., headquartered in Delta Township, is one of the leading property and casualty insurers in the United States. The company is represented by more than 47,000 licensed agents in 26 states and offers multiple lines of insurance, including life, home, auto and business. Its current campuses north and south of the I-496/Creyts Road interchange house 2,500 employees. The company is adding an additional 231,000 square feet of office space and 297 new full-time positions over the next four years at the south campus location.
Auto-Owners' rapid growth has strained the I-496 interchange at Creyts Road and the additional trips generated by their expansion will further impact traffic operations. To increase safety and improve traffic flow, the MDOT University Region will install a new traffic signal at the westbound I-496 ramps at Creyts Road. In addition, MDOT will reconstruct the eastbound I-496 off ramp and extend the turn lanes at Creyts Road.
To improve traffic operations at the company's south campus entrance, the Eaton County Road Commission will widen Creyts Road, adding a center turn lane from approximately 360 feet south of the company's entrance to the eastbound I-496 ramps. This work will help enable Auto-Owners to proceed with their campus expansion.
"We appreciated the opportunity to work with the MDOT team to facilitate improvements to the traffic flow in this area of Delta Township," said Jeff Tagsold, Auto-Owners Insurance chairman and CEO. "The addition of a traffic signal to the westbound I-496 ramp at Creyts Road and an additional left-turn lane on Creyts Road south of I-496 is going to be a great benefit for the region."
The overall cost of this project is $765,892, including $502,443 in TEDF Category A funding, $165,799 from Auto-Owners Insurance Co., and $97,650 from the MDOT University Region.
Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products, and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers.
TEDF "Category A" or "Targeted Industries Program" grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond quickly to the transportation needs of expanding companies and eliminate inadequate roadways as an obstacle to private investment and job creation. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages. More information about the program is available online at www.Michigan.gov/TEDF.