By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON RIVER - Last summer, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) concentrated road construction efforts in Iron River on U.S. 2 through the downtown area.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Workers dig up M-189 in the area of Maple Street in downtown Iron River. Construction work to improve and straighten the road is scheduled to be completed in October.
This summer, the focus is on M-189.
Mike Premo, manager at MDOT's Crystal Falls Transportation Center, said that workers are reconstructing the road starting at Genesee Street and continuing south for about one mile.
"There's old concrete under it and poor materials below," he explained. "Hopefully, this will eliminate dips in the road."
Workers will also straighten the road where it makes a sharp curve in the area of Maple Street.
"It won't be completely straight, just less sharp," Premo pointed out.
With the sharp curve removed, there will be room to construct a small off-street parking lot.
"M-189 will be moved to the east and the parking lot will be where the current road is located," said Premo. "The parking lot will be accessed from Maple Street and cars will travel south and be able to angle park."
The city of Iron River will take over ownership and maintenance of the lot once it is finished, Premo added.
While construction is under way, all M-189 traffic is being detoured onto side streets.
Completion of the M-189 project is scheduled for Oct. 18, with some remedial work scheduled for next spring.
M-189 runs from U.S. 2 in downtown Iron River south to the Wisconsin border, a distance of about eight miles. Once in Wisconsin, the road becomes State Highway 139.
Meanwhile, the city of Iron River's planned road construction work on Genesee Street has been delayed until next spring.
It previously had a tentative start date of Aug. 15 and would have coincided with the M-189 work.
Iron River City Manager Perry Franzoi said that bids for the Genesee Street project came in too high.
The project, which is covered in part by a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Downtown Infrastructure Grant worth $559,000, involves improving the corridor from M-189 to River Avenue by fixing the main water lines and service lines, repaving the street, and adding new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, LED street lights, and decorative planters.
Franzoi said that the city will re-bid the Genesee Street project later this year and hopefully begin construction by May 1. The project must be completed by Sept. 14, 2014, he added.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is email@example.com.