Private meeting held to pitch ideas
IMLAY CITY — Over 30 people gathered at the Imlay City fire hall Monday afternoon, to take part in the M-53 Corridor Committee meeting.
The group has met on a regular basis to discuss issues along the stretch of Van Dyke from Almont to the northern part of Lapeer County and points beyond.
At the heart of Monday’s meeting was discussion about a proposed stoplight at the intersection of Borland Road and Cedar Street (M-53), as well as road repair projects that are in the planning phases.
According to Imlay City officials, the issue of a possible new stoplight at the dangerous intersection has been kicked down the road for over 30 years.
In the meantime, police statistics show a steady increase in accidents, a recent fatality and continued speeding concerns in the area between Newark and Capac Roads.
MDOT officials briefly touched on six projects planned for the area all of which have essentially been kicked down the road with delayed start dates of five years or more.
Work on an eight-mile stretch of Van Dyke, between Bowers and Deanville Rd., is scheduled to be bid out later this year and possibly be done in 2024 or 2025.
Aside from that, the remaining projects were pushed back to 2030 or longer. MDOT officials say the delay is due to rising inflation and the appropriations of road funding to other larger jobs in the Bay Region which includes the Saginaw, Bay City, Midland areas.
When the conversation turned to the possibility of a stoplight at Borland Rd. and M-53 (see Opinion Column on Page 6A), the handful of citizens at the meeting had their say, expressing concern for their own personal safety.
Both Imlay City police and fire officials have strong concerns about the dangerous intersection, citing traffic concerns.
Police Chief Brett Selby told the Tri-City Times after the meeting that he is seeking a grant to help with the cost of an officer to have additional patrols in the area, but even then, patrol hours would be minimal.
At a previous meeting held in Goodland Township, discussion was had about creating a boulevard on M-53 in Imlay City to help with traffic issues.
Monday afternoon, MDOT Engineer Ryan Whiteherse said if that concept was approved, it could cost upwards of $10 million.
A stoplight, according to Whiteherse, would cost the state under $500,000.
During the meeting, the engineer said, “Putting in a stoplight is not the answer.” He claimed the number of crashes would escalate and do nothing to solve the current issue.
According to MDOT officials, the majority of the crashes are taking place at the entrance to Kroger. Not at the Borland intersection.
The issue of whether or not the Borland Rd. crossing at M-53 is handicap accessible and compliant with A.D.A. laws was not discussed.
MDOT and Imlay City officials were slated to have a private meeting Tuesday, with no public allowed to attend, to review MDOT proposals for the area in question.
Also at Monday’s meeting, discussion was held with regards to the entrance to the Smokehouse near Almont.
MDOT officials say there is ongoing litigation against the Smokehouse for one of the entrances being used for business.
According to MDOT, the southern-most of two entrances is not in compliance with MDOT requirements and the department is working with the Attorney General’s Office to correct the situation.
MDOT officials would only say, there “definitely needs to be a change there” with the entrances to the business.
Traffic and motorist safety is also an issue MDOT is looking into at the Almont location.
The M-53 Corridor Committee will be meeting again July 24 (during the Imlay City Fair) to further discuss topics of the major highway that runs through Macomb, Lapeer and Huron counties.