Five lane plan for Ten Mile examined

by Cliff and Nancy Hill

Tuesday evening, July 13, the Kent County Road Commission held a public meeting on proposed improvements to 10 Mile Road between the County landfill entrance east to Childsdale Avenue. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information on proposed improvements along this portion of County roadway.

In 2011 the heavily trafficked and oftentimes-dangerous 1.4-mile stretch of road will be widened to five lanes, two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, under a plan proposed by the Kent County Road Commission. The improvements will be very similar to those that in recent years were undertaken by the County on Northland Drive between Twelve Mile and Fourteen Mile Roads (M-57).

Wayne Harrall, Director of Engineering for the Kent County Road Commission, pictured at right, answers questions by residents about the County’s proposed plan to widen 10-Mile Road.

Compared to this year’s Road Commission held meetings in Plainfield Township on proposed improvements to Belmont Road, this initial Ten Mile Road improvement meeting was civil. Readers may recall that a contentious group of Plainfield Township residents doomed the Belmont Road project to failure.

The meeting was held in the spacious sanctuary of Resurrection Life Church, conveniently located adjacent to the stretch of roadway much in need of necessary improvements to handle ever-increasing daily volumes of traffic.

An appreciative murmur rippled through the 100+ area residents in attendance when Wayne Harrall, Director of Engineering for the County Road Commission announced that, “A stoplight traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Wolven Avenue and Ten Mile Road.”

Acknowledging the now difficult and oftentimes dangerous task of turning east or westbound off of Wolven onto Ten Mile Rd. Harrall also added, “The sightlines to the east would be greatly improved by raising the grade of a deep dip in the roadway by five to six feet thus eliminating a dangerous blind spot.” It was also noted that, at Highlander, the five new lanes would begin to transition and taper into the existing three-lane configuration of Ten Mile Road at Childsdale Avenue.

No businesses will be affected because none front the particular corridor of road. Needing access, however, during construction is Resurrection Life Church and numerous driveways of private residences. Those concerned about having access to their homes or attending Resurrection Life Church services or its day care center were reassured that they would have free access during the reconstruction period. The road, however, will be closed to through traffic.

There are no current plans for a traffic light at Childsdale because traffic volume (on Childsdale) does not warrant it. Even though the new roadway will include curbs, no sidewalks or bike paths are in the plans at this time.

It appeared as though those present that evening were pleased that this much needed roadway improvement was finally on the drawing board and scheduled for after school closing in June 2011 through, hopefully, mid to late August that same year.

Longtime Algoma residents Jim and Bev Reeds, the developers of Algoma Center at the corner of Algoma and Ten Mile Roads, said, “We are both thrilled. We travel this stretch of road daily and oftentimes fear for our lives especially at the intersection of Wolven Avenue and Ten Mile Road. It seems the County is attempting to do everything they can, within an already tight budget, to make this stretch (of road) a safe corridor.”

Rockford City Manager Michael Young’s thoughts were, “The City would prefer a four-lane expansion with a boulevard but overall the Road Commission did a nice job with the design presented. The transition back down to three lanes at Childsdale will function well and we are very happy about the traffic light at Wolven. I will be working with the Road Commission during final design to see if we can have sidewalks installed between Highlander and Gibraltar Drives.”

Cost of construction is estimated at $2.4 million, with $1.6 million coming from federal stimulus money and the County paying the rest.

This meeting was the first of a series of open meetings before final plan approval. The next meeting, yet to be announced, will address environmental assessment concerns. Watch for an announcement in local newspapers or on a lighted roadside message board near the entrance of Resurrection Life Church.

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