Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Northfield Township fighting to revive US-23 expansion

15. October 2005 • Murph
Email this article

Northfield Township Supervisor Mike Cicchella is apparently trying to gather support to put a US-23 expansion back in play, after the project was set aside when Granholm prioritized maintaining existing infrastructure:

“It has just become apparent that we need to work together to solve the US-23 corridor issue,’’ Cicchella told the gathering of about 15 people who included representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, two state representatives, the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, the Washtenaw County Road Commission and others.
. . .
Cicchella handed out a draft letter that explains the problems with the highway, its economic importance and the need to improve it. He expects to revise the letter to get local governments and other concerned agencies along the US-23 corridor to endorse it in an effort to persuade the State Transportation Commission and Granholm to take the US-23 project off the deferred list.

“Part of this is a political issue,’’ Cicchella said after the meeting. “What we need to do is impact that.’’
. . .
Even if they manage to get the project off the deferred list, the group still will face formidable obstacles. For instance, Andrewes said, the federal government will not sign off on an environmental study until the sources of money for all phases of the project have been identified. Widening the road to three lanes is expected to cost half a billion dollars, she said.

Before procedural constraints cut the scope to the Ann Arbor – Detroit corridor, the current regional commuter rail study extended up to Lansing; Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said Thursday that providing a commuter transit option north from Ann Arbor was still a priority, especially because of the level of traffic on US-23. Such transit would probably use the Ann Arbor Railroad’s right-of-way within Ann Arbor, and either follow that line north or involve new track within the US-23 right-of-way.

  1. This is, of course, why I am I vehemently against any sort of “rails-to-trails” talk on the AARR right-of-way. (And moderately against rails-to-trails in general…) Sacrificing the option of commuter transit = bad plan. The AARR tracks are in fairly poor condition, but the ROW exists, and that’s a big part of the battle for transit routes.
       —Murph    Oct. 15 '05 - 12:51PM    #
  2. This is, of course, why I am I vehemently against any sort of “rails-to-trails” talk on the AARR right-of-way.

    Huh? One of the points of rail trails is to preserve the right-of-way of abandoned rail lines rather than have the land taken over by adjacent property owners, at which point the right-of-way is gone forever.

    At least one section of the AARR is already a rail-trail, BTW. It runs from Beulah to Frankfort (Michigan port of the AARR car ferry fleet). A protracted legal battle had to be fought with adjacent landowners who obviously didn’t want to keep the rail transit option—they wanted the right of way to revert to them.
       —mw    Oct. 17 '05 - 12:45AM    #