M37 at Old Mission Flowers, corner of Ladd Road | Jane Boursaw Photo
M37 at Old Mission Flowers, corner of Ladd Road | Jane Boursaw Photo
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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will not be transferring M37/Center Road to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.

This jurisdictional issue has been in the discussion phase since 2019, when Peninsula Township officially opposed the transfer, citing several reasons, including:

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  • Inaction by the Road Commission to address several road issues on the Old Mission Peninsula;
  • The fact that Old Mission Point Park and Lighthouse Park are state parks requiring a state road;
  • The possibility of M37 funds being diverted to roads elsewhere in the county; and
  • The fact that M37 is a Pure Michigan Scenic Byway, a designation that would go away if the road was no longer under state jurisdiction. Read more here and here.

In an email to Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold (forwarded to the Gazette today), MDOT’s Traverse City manager Dan Wagner indicates that MDOT will be working on a resurfacing project on M37 that will extend north from the city limit (“The Forks” at the intersection of Center Road and Peninsula Drive), likely terminating in the Mapleton area, depending on how far the funds go (+/- $2 million). They hope to have the project bid out in 2021, with the work taking place during the 2022 construction season.

MDOT is also looking into changes for the section of road which extends from US-31 to the city limit. Details are still being worked out, but this project would possibly incorporate some geometric changes and pedestrian enhancements to that stretch of road.

Here is Wagner’s email to Manigold:

As we discussed, MDOT is not going to proceed with the jurisdictional transfer of M-37, primarily due to the downstream implications given its designation as a Pure Michigan Byway. I reached out to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and the City of Traverse City about this, as well.

We will be looking to do a resurfacing project, as had previously been planned on M-37. The project would start at the Traverse City north city limit and extend north, likely terminating in the Mapleton area. The funds (+/-$2M) we have allocated will ultimately dictate how far north we can get. Our hope is to have the project bid out and obligated in 2021 and the actual work would take place in the 2022 construction season.

We will also be looking into programming a project for that portion of M-37 between US-31 and the north city limit that would incorporate some geometric changes, as well as some pedestrian enhancements. I don’t have any details to share on that work at present.”

Thoughts on this news? Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

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  1. This is great news! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘If they are going to redo Center Road, please,please remove the rumble strips for the sake of everyone who lives along M-37.

  2. In my opinion, this is very good news. A Thank You to the Township Board for stepping in and opposing the transfer. Now let’s see if we can get GTC Road Commission to pay attention to other problems on the Peninsula. I’m thinking Bluff Road and the awful state of the roads in Old Mission.

    • Swaney Road coming from Center towards Haserot is particularly bad, due to the increased traffic by heavy machinery and trucks now traveling this stretch every day.

  3. Very encouraged that pedestrian and biking accommodations are being discussed. Hopefully this can help facilitate bringing the Tart Trail to the Peninsula.

  4. Rob, BIG congratulations to you, Gordon Hayward , Brad Bickel and many others who planned and sweated the details to re-secure M-37 within MDOT jurisdiction.

    Pure Michigan !


  5. It didn’t make sense to transfer a Scenic ByWay in the first place. These were created for a reason which MDOT and the County seemed to forget.
    Such great news and what a relief.


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