Project to bring 190 jobs to the U.P.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced the awarding of a $2 million Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) grant that will help bring 190 new jobs to theUpper Peninsula.

“MDOT is pleased to partner with the Dickinson County Road Commission, the city of Iron Mountain, and Systems Control on this project,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Resurfacing this major commercial corridor will lead to reduced delays and shipping costs for the company, and increased safety for local residents by getting large commercial vehicles off downtown streets.”

“The Dickinson County Road Commission is pleased that MDOT, in awarding this grant, has acknowledged this roadway is a vital link in our economic infrastructure,” said James Harris Sr., chairman of the Dickinson County Road Commission. “Our partner in securing this grant, Systems Control, is a major employer in the Michigan-Wisconsin region. This roadway is an integral part of our country road system.”

“This grant is certainly welcome news for the Dickinson County area. The upgrade to Lake Antoine Road is sure to promote local economic growth and increase public safety, and I thank MDOT for this,” said State Sen. Tom Casperson. “Similarly, I am grateful for the hard work and cooperation of the road commission, city, county, and township and for their ability to not only work together but with the state and with local industry, as I believe these efforts and partnerships were instrumental in receiving this award.”

“This project represents a true partnership between the road commission, the city, MDOT and Breitung Charter Township,” said MDOT Superior Region Engineer Randy VanPortfliet. “The safety and mobility improvements to this route and their support of commercial transportation are important to the entire western Upper Peninsula.”

The project is approved for $2,009,583 in TEDF Category A funding and will be completed with $327,000 from the road commission and $186,000 from the city. The improvements will resurface Lake Antoine Road and restore it to all-season status.

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF was created to provide funding for highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan that will create or support jobs. The TEDF “Category A,” or “Target Industries Program,” provides state funding for transportation improvements that will help accommodate increased traffic and provide commercial routes that are safe and more efficient for new and expanding companies. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages.

Dickinson County Project Summary

Systems Control, an operating division of Northern Star Industries, is nationally recognized as a premier designer and manufacturer of control and relay panels, as well as equipment enclosures used primarily by utilities. The company considered locations outside Michigan in addition to Iron Mountain for expansion. A skilled workforce, government support and the added cost of managing two separate facilities led the company to decide to expand at its current Michigan location, invest approximately $10.6 million in a new building and equipment, and create 190 new jobs.

Lake Antoine Road connects US-2 near Quinnesec to US-2/US-141 on the north side of Iron Mountain. The road provides a bypass of downtown Iron Mountain for large commercial vehicles as well as access to the main driveway for the facility. Deteriorating road conditions have made it necessary for the Dickinson County Road Commission to prohibit truck traffic. With this restriction, Systems Control trucks currently must find alternate routes to bring in raw materials and ship finished products. This situation results in higher shipping costs for the company, as well as other road users.

To address these conditions, the road commission proposes to crush and shape the existing asphalt surface and repave the roadway.  It also will fully reconstruct a section of the road in the Lake Antoine Park area to prevent future sinking. These improvements will restore the road to all-season status and lift the current prohibition on through traffic for trucks. The improvements also will reduce delays and shipping costs for the company and increase safety for local residents by allowing large commercial vehicles to bypass downtown Iron Mountain.