Delta County receives grant to help improve Mead Road

More road improvements are in the works for Delta County.

The heavily traveled Mead Road in Wells Township has been added to the list of roads getting a makeover thanks in part to a $200,000 Category A grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Transportation Economic Development Fund. The road, also known as County Road 59, sees over 100,000 vehicles annually, many of them heavy logging trucks heading to the NewPage paper mill. The deterioration of the road has resulted in both excess noise and several thousands of dollars in repairs for the Delta County Road Commission every year.

“It’s going to make it a lot better for the residents,” said Van Marenger, Construction Superintendent at the Road Commission. “It’s going to make it a lot better for the traffic going in NewPage, and it’s also definitely going to help us out, because we will not be spending so much money on maintenance on it.”

MDOT says Category A grants are awarded to Michigan counties for improvements that will help accommodate increased traffic and provide commercial routes that are safe and more efficient for new and expanding companies. The motivation for Delta’s reception of the grant is the addition of the Omya precipitated calcium carbonate plant that is being co-located at the NewPage mill. Surface and shoulder improvements will allow Omya to bring full truck loads along the improved all-season route.

The three week project is scheduled to occur in June of 2015 in advance of MDOT’s improvements to the nearby Escanaba River Bridge.

“When MDOT does the Escanaba River Bridge, they’re going to realign the entrance into Mead Road, and they’re going to raise the approach going out a little bit down across the river bridge, so getting this done before they do that, they’ll be able to realign and match up to what we’re doing,” added Marenger.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be just over $250,000.

Another of Delta County’s projects, the $660,000 improvement of County Road 521 in Ford River Township funded by the Priority Road Improvement Program, has been moved ahead to this year from its original 2015 date.