Detroit FREE PRESS
M-59 would be widened to six lanes from four between Crooks and Ryan roads -- a chronic choke point for commuters in Oakland and Macomb counties -- under the state’s proposed plans to spend about $850 million in federal stimulus money Michigan will receive.
The long-sought, $60-million project would be fast-tracked to begin this year, possibly in September, according to a list of projects statewide that the Michigan Department of Transportation said are most likely to meet federal requirements for economic stimulus spending.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm told an audience of regional leaders this afternoon that the spending on infrastructure is expected to create about 25,000 construction-related jobs.
Under President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, Michigan will get another $135 million for transit systems, Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle told the gathering at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments offices downtown.
Steudle said the federal government will make additional money available for roadwork and high-speed rail, which could help efforts to build a high-speed route between Detroit and Chicago.
“This is about job creation and putting people to work," Steudle said. “This is a great opportunity for us.”
Granholm said the emphasis will be on speed to meet federal requirements to get the projects rolling within the timeframe the stimulus plan requires.
MDOT said many of the projects will have to be approved by regional planning agencies statewide, a process the state said it’s working to finish quickly. The Legislature also must approve the additions to the roadwork budget.
Other major projects in metro Detroit that would be paid for with stimulus money include $15 million in major bridge repairs on I-96 in Wayne County; $10 million to resurface Michigan Avenue between Livernois and Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit; $13 million to resurface M-8 between Oakland and Conant in Detroit; $18 million to rebuild I-94 between St. Clair Highway and Allington Road in St. Clair County; and a $12-million reconstruction of northbound Telegraph Road between Square Lake and Orchard Lake roads in Oakland County.
Steudle said the state’s top priority with transportation stimulus money is to fix existing roads, but some of it also will address congestion relief.