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Author Topic: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled  (Read 51382 times)

Terry Shea

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #200 on: November 03, 2020, 07:48:15 PM »

Why does this bridge get stuck open? sounds like you should replace the bridge rather than build a whole new road just in case this bridge fails.
You have your answer.  MDOT doesn't do things that make sense or spend money where it's needed.  They should replace the bridge and complete the bypass, but neither will happen for many millennia.
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JREwing78

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #201 on: November 05, 2020, 10:42:52 PM »

How much would it cost to just tunnel US-31 under the Grand River where the drawbridge is? That drawbridge has been a problem since I was a kid and I'm talking back to the 80's. It's probably too old to fix anyway just replace the stupid thing.

Ironically if you zoom in on the satellite view on GSV the drawbridge is in the up position letting a boat through.

It's not just that, but also the cost to punch a freeway through Grand Haven. At a minimum, it's 2 miles of urban depressed freeway, with frontage roads. Even if the NIMBYs let you do it, that's a big expense. And when it clogs again, you can't easily or cheaply widen it.

Then you have 12 miles of railroad jammed right up against the existing US-31 ROW, where you have 2 or 3 places that you have to either jog the roadway east (more ROW acquisition), or build expensive high overpasses to clear the railroad for the entrance and exit ramps. Also, no ROW width for future widening.

At Van Buren St, the railroad angles away, but now you're approaching Holland, and you have to jam in at least a couple interchanges and build out frontage or backage roads to serve local traffic. More ROW acquisition needed, because you only have 200' of ROW width to work with, sometimes less. It's going to look a lot like the US-131 south of the S-curve in Grand Rapids - possible, but very expensive to build out, and little room for future expansion.

Instead, MDOT is (wisely) choosing to leave existing US-31 for local traffic (which is significant), and build out about 25 miles of full-width freeway with plenty of room for future traffic growth. It will provide an important northern beltway around Holland and Zeeland. It will also take pressure off local N-S roads (there's not that many ways across the Grand River).

Look at M-6 as an example - generous ROW (400' or more) was purchased while it was still mostly rural area, and it allowed a relatively inexpensive buildout with plenty of room for future widening. Do it right, and you won't have to add lanes for at least 50 years - and when you do it's relatively cheap. The existing US-31, meanwhile, can remain more or less as it has been the past 50 years with only smaller updates for safety.
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cabiness42

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #202 on: December 08, 2021, 09:03:22 AM »

Are there any updates on this project? Still targeted for completion in early 2022?
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JREwing78

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #203 on: December 08, 2021, 11:09:14 PM »

I don't think it was ever planned for *early* 2022 completion - there's quite a lot left to do yet.
https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9621_11008_92734---,00.html

It appears on-schedule for completion in 2022. EBD I-94 needs to be rebuilt yet. US-31 is being built up to the interchange, but it's not paved out yet. The ramps to and from EBD I-94 also need to be built out yet, as well as the interchange at I-196.

Construction on the WBD side appears to be mostly complete - I-94 is rebuilt and the entrance/exit to Business I-94 is done. There was still landscape restoration work being done (and probably into next year).

Pictures: Video update:
But wait! There's more I-94 construction ahead in Benton Harbor/St. Joseph:
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Henry

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #204 on: December 09, 2021, 10:46:03 AM »

I can't wait to see the finished freeway next year! It's hard to believe it took this long to get it done, although I can see why it did, with the environmental concerns and all.
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Terry Shea

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #205 on: December 10, 2021, 01:15:38 AM »

I can't wait to see the finished freeway next year! It's hard to believe it took this long to get it done, although I can see why it did, with the environmental concerns and all.
Don't hold your breath.  I'd be very surprised if it was actually completed next year.
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silverback1065

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #206 on: December 10, 2021, 08:10:15 AM »

I can't wait to see the finished freeway next year! It's hard to believe it took this long to get it done, although I can see why it did, with the environmental concerns and all.
Don't hold your breath.  I'd be very surprised if it was actually completed next year.

i still hate this interchange design. typical MDOT half stepping.
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US20IL64

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #207 on: December 10, 2021, 11:08:21 AM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?

Visit area in summers.
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webny99

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #208 on: December 10, 2021, 11:14:52 AM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?

Visit area in summers.

Others that are more familiar with project could confirm, but I believe there were environmental issues along the original routing, particularly the northern end of the gap, which the new routing connecting to BL I-94 avoids.
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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #209 on: December 10, 2021, 11:32:08 AM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?
butterflies
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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #210 on: December 10, 2021, 11:44:41 AM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?
butterflies

Yup, butterflies really are the reason why we can't have the direct connection. That was, is, and always will be dumb.
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I-55

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #211 on: December 10, 2021, 12:04:27 PM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?
butterflies

Yup, butterflies really are the reason why we can't have the direct connection. That was, is, and always will be dumb.

But if a bunch of birds ate all of them instead of us building a road through there, would it really matter how the butterflies went out? I hate how we think we have to "save" species. If nature says it's their time to go, it's their time to go, don't interfere with it. How many other species go out of their way to save another species at their own expense? Up to 150 species go extinct every day, let's allow nature to be nature.
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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #212 on: December 10, 2021, 12:55:20 PM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?
butterflies

Yup, butterflies really are the reason why we can't have the direct connection. That was, is, and always will be dumb.

But if a bunch of birds ate all of them instead of us building a road through there, would it really matter how the butterflies went out? I hate how we think we have to "save" species. If nature says it's their time to go, it's their time to go, don't interfere with it. How many other species go out of their way to save another species at their own expense? Up to 150 species go extinct every day, let's allow nature to be nature.
You do realize that there's a difference between letting nature do its thing and taking actions that push a species further towards extinction, right?  Think of it as similar to the difference between not driving an injured person to the hospital and parking your car in such a way that an ambulance or someone else would have a harder time getting that person to the hospital.
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silverback1065

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #213 on: December 10, 2021, 12:58:04 PM »

Was it too costly to connect I-196 to the US 31 freeway directly? Had assumed this would be the case, until looked up the project. Big $ property in the way?
butterflies

Yup, butterflies really are the reason why we can't have the direct connection. That was, is, and always will be dumb.

But if a bunch of birds ate all of them instead of us building a road through there, would it really matter how the butterflies went out? I hate how we think we have to "save" species. If nature says it's their time to go, it's their time to go, don't interfere with it. How many other species go out of their way to save another species at their own expense? Up to 150 species go extinct every day, let's allow nature to be nature.
You do realize that there's a difference between letting nature do its thing and taking actions that push a species further towards extinction, right?  Think of it as similar to the difference between not driving an injured person to the hospital and parking your car in such a way that an ambulance or someone else would have a harder time getting that person to the hospital.

i agree, i would be nice to not be the reason these species die out. my only beef is this interchange is not technically limited access. they could have done this but of course they didn't and that angers me.
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webny99

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #214 on: December 10, 2021, 01:17:21 PM »

my only beef is this interchange is not technically limited access. they could have done this but of course they didn't and that angers me.

It would have been nice, but at least the I-94 WB to US 31 SB and US 31 NB to I-94 EB movements are completely free flowing. Those movements not having to stop or turn at an at-grade intersection is more important than the entire interchange being limited access IMO.
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silverback1065

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #215 on: December 10, 2021, 01:21:24 PM »

my only beef is this interchange is not technically limited access. they could have done this but of course they didn't and that angers me.

It would have been nice, but at least the I-94 WB to US 31 SB and US 31 NB to I-94 EB movements are completely free flowing. Those movements not having to stop or turn at an at-grade intersection is more important than the entire interchange being limited access IMO.

I get that, what I am saying is they could have made those two movements limited access. NB technically is, but SB has a loop ramp that could potentially get tied up at a future signal placed for a left turn movement. should have been a flyover ramp. Kinda how 31 and 465 is. the 31 mainline ramps completely avoid any potential signal while the rest go to a signal.
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webny99

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #216 on: December 10, 2021, 01:48:02 PM »

my only beef is this interchange is not technically limited access. they could have done this but of course they didn't and that angers me.

It would have been nice, but at least the I-94 WB to US 31 SB and US 31 NB to I-94 EB movements are completely free flowing. Those movements not having to stop or turn at an at-grade intersection is more important than the entire interchange being limited access IMO.

I get that, what I am saying is they could have made those two movements limited access. NB technically is, but SB has a loop ramp that could potentially get tied up at a future signal placed for a left turn movement. should have been a flyover ramp. Kinda how 31 and 465 is. the 31 mainline ramps completely avoid any potential signal while the rest go to a signal.

Yes, a flyover would have been preferred, but it's still a free-flowing movement as-is. US 31 SB is never going to have to stop for the left turn since there's no conflicting traffic. I don't see any point to installing a signal there, but if for some reason they do, it would be meaningless as it would be permanently green.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #217 on: December 10, 2021, 04:17:31 PM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
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Rothman

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #218 on: December 10, 2021, 06:01:41 PM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
NEPA is real...
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vdeane

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #219 on: December 10, 2021, 09:40:16 PM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
NEPA is real...
I think he's saying that the direct connection wouldn't have happened even if it weren't for the butterflies because Michigan can't afford it, not that the butterflies weren't an issue.
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Rothman

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #220 on: December 10, 2021, 10:24:15 PM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
NEPA is real...
I think he's saying that the direct connection wouldn't have happened even if it weren't for the butterflies because Michigan can't afford it, not that the butterflies weren't an issue.
NEPA is real...
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Terry Shea

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #221 on: December 10, 2021, 11:34:44 PM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
Well why build any road then?
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webny99

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #222 on: December 11, 2021, 08:28:41 AM »

To be clear, the direct feed wasn't just about the Karner blue butterflies.  The freeway would have plowed through a remnant ecosystem along the steep valley walls of Blue Creek.  There would also be impacts to a cold water Lake Michigan tributary which is spawning habitat for economically significant fish.

All to save 60 seconds of driving at most?  Meh.

For a state that is perpetually crying poverty when it comes to roads, punching US 31 straight to I-196 would have been a much more expensive interchange.  So to me, laying all the blame on some butterflies is disingenuous.
NEPA is real...
I think he's saying that the direct connection wouldn't have happened even if it weren't for the butterflies because Michigan can't afford it, not that the butterflies weren't an issue.
NEPA is real...

No one is saying it isn't!  :-D

Just that there are other important issues, including cost, that factored in as well.
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JREwing78

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Re: US 31 gap in Michigan finally will be filled
« Reply #223 on: December 11, 2021, 09:42:34 AM »

my only beef is this interchange is not technically limited access. they could have done this but of course they didn't and that angers me.

It would have been nice, but at least the I-94 WB to US 31 SB and US 31 NB to I-94 EB movements are completely free flowing. Those movements not having to stop or turn at an at-grade intersection is more important than the entire interchange being limited access IMO.

I get that, what I am saying is they could have made those two movements limited access. NB technically is, but SB has a loop ramp that could potentially get tied up at a future signal placed for a left turn movement. should have been a flyover ramp. Kinda how 31 and 465 is. the 31 mainline ramps completely avoid any potential signal while the rest go to a signal.

Yes, a flyover would have been preferred, but it's still a free-flowing movement as-is. US 31 SB is never going to have to stop for the left turn since there's no conflicting traffic. I don't see any point to installing a signal there, but if for some reason they do, it would be meaningless as it would be permanently green.

There's nothing being done here that prevents MDOT from coming back later and building a WBD-SBD flyover ramp to replace the loop ramp. I suspect it's going to be a long time before that truly becomes necessary - traffic volumes choosing to stay on US-31 instead of following WBD I-94 are going to be quite low for the foreseeable future.

A challenge with a flyover ramp in the area is its location in the snow belt along Lake Michigan. Anything that involves curves on an elevated surface is asking for trouble, due to the potential for icing. It wouldn't shock me if, when a high-speed WBD-SBD movement is ultimately is built out, it ends up being a short tunnel underneath I-94. But that's not going to be for decades, if ever.
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