ISHPEMING — The construction project that’s slowed down drivers in the City of Ishpeming for most of the year is now complete.
The two new roundaboutsâ€“ one on USâ€“41 and the other directly behind the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame that connects Second and Third Streetsâ€“ are now fully functioning, making travel safer for drivers and pedestrians alike. That’s especially true for the roundabout at the intersection of USâ€“41 and Second Street, which has seen its share of accidents over the years.
“This intersection has been a safety issue and a big concern for the citizens of Ishpeming,” said Aaron Johnson, MDOT Ishpeming Manager. “It’s great to bring a modern roundabout which is going to be very efficient, move traffic well and be veryâ€“pedestrian friendly,” Johnson added.
“Adding the roundabout on the city’s road network I think really adds that extra element of safety,” said Jon Kangas, director of the Ishpeming DPW. “Not everyone is going to like it. Roundabouts aren’t for everybody, but I don’t think they’re going away anytime soon.”
While crews were installing the roundabout behind the hall of fame, the Ishpeming Department of Public Works worked on some of the city’s infrastructure lines, saving both money and time down the road.
“Simply put, you want to spend your money as wisely as possible,” said Kangas. “For $4 million, we had a significant amount of infrastructure done hereâ€“ water mains, storm sewers, a little bit of sanitary sewer and of course a total reconstruction of the roadway within the project limits,” he added.
In addition to the safety upgrades made by the roundabouts, they’re designed to equip larger vehiclesâ€“ such as semis and mine trucksâ€“ with ease. And when the snow flies in a few weeks, snow removal crews will have no problems maneuvering the roundabouts for cleanup purposes.
“We’ve collaborated well with our winter maintenance agencies and they’re very easy,” said Johnson about the roundabout snow cleanup. “They start plowing in the middle, on the inside and around they go. It’s very quick, efficient and safe for the plow drivers to maintain these,” Johnson added.