Marquette Township residents raise concerns about Forestville bypass proposal

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:39 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:42 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Marquette Township residents are sounding off about a proposal to put a new bypass off Forestville Road.

A map of the proposed road created by the Marquette County Road Commission (MCRC) was presented at Tuesday night’s Marquette Township Board meeting.

Board members said they weren’t sure if the map is a final proposal or a rough draft or if there’s a roundabout involved. The MCRC said the $10-14 million concept is based on Marquette Township’s master plan, and the question before the township is if they want to look into possibilities of moving forward with working on the proposed conceptual connector route shown above.

The bypass construction could come around the same time as a proposed residential development on Forestville Road, as TV6 has previously reported. Because of additional traffic on Forestville Road, the MCRC determined a new connector road is necessary to handle the proposed traffic to and from County Road 492 and Forestville Road. The MCRC says the Forestville Road and CR 492 intersection is one of the most dangerous intersections in its entire network.

Some members of the board and the public said they were concerned about a lack of transparency from the MCRC.

“I don’t think you should bow down to one big developer like Walmart or Longyear and just let them ram what they want through here and do what they want,” Dr. David Pesola, a Marquette Township resident, told the board. “I think you work for us. You’re our representatives as a township.”

No decision was reached by the board Tuesday night.

“My preferred option is a roundabout at Forestville, Commerce (Drive) and County Road 492,” said Marquette Township manager Jon Kangas. “I’d love to see one here. What (the Road Commission tells) me is the vertical alignment of the four legs at that intersection does not work for truck traffic in the winter.”

No one from the MCRC was at Tuesday night’s meeting.

When reached by email, MCRC engineer manager James Iwanicki told TV6 the next step is for the township to choose whether or not to move forward with working on the proposed concept for the bypass. That process would include detailing all the options, getting public input, deciding on an option, final design plans, construction specifications, and securing funding for the project.

Iwanicki said if the township wishes to move forward, the MCRC will start the process of moving from concepts to a final plan.

If the board doesn’t want to move forward, Iwanicki said the matter will be put on the shelf.

The Road Commission has a public hearing on its next budget September 19.

The Marquette Township Board next meets September 20.