Boyne City Safe Routes to School project construction begins

boyne safe routes to school groundbreaking web
A groundbreaking ceremony was held early today, Tuesday July 12, at the intersection of M-75 and Brockway in Boyne City for the city's Safe Routes to School program. Local city and economic development officials are pictured with construction and engineering personnel who are working on the project in the photo taken this morning. Photo by Chris Faulknor/Boyne City Gazette

A groundbreaking ceremony was held early today, Tuesday July 12, at the intersection of M-75 and Brockway in Boyne City for the city’s Safe Routes to School program.

This plan will add and improve 1.1 miles of sidewalks, create and improve pedestrian crossings across M-75, improve signage, adjust speed limits and provide education to help encourage safe pedestrian and bicycle travel to and from schools in Boyne City.

SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ ABOUT TODAY’S EVENT AS WELL AS THE FULL HISTORY OF THE PROJECT

This project is being made possible with a $400,000 grant provided by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Representatives of Boyne City, the Boyne City Public Schools, MDOT, project engineer C2AE, and the contractor attended.

The project is anticipated to be open for use in time for the new school year on Tuesday Sept. 6.

History of the project

This story was originally published last June

Safe Routes to School; major pedestrian project moving forward

Boyne City is looking to improve numerous pedestrian walkways and road crossings thanks to a $400,000 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure project grant.

The moneys, conditionally committed by the Michigan Department of Transportation will help pay for sidewalk construction and improvement, pedestrian crossings, new ADA ramps placed at curbs and crosswalks and new signage and lighting to improve pedestrian safety near Boyne City elementary and middle schools.

“We met with representatives from the Michigan Fitness Foundation and MDOT, and they indicated that the grant could be approved but not all the items were fundable—specifically the intersection of Brockway and the intersection of Beardsley where the rapid flashing beacons were proposed,” said Boyne City Planning Director Scott McPherson. “They identified that those did not meet the MDOT guidelines for installation of that type of treatment; at Beardsley, it was basically because the speed of the road and the width of the crossing didn’t meet their merits to install that. At the Beardsley intersection, because there’s not an existing crossing there, they couldn’t identify any crossings or counts.”

He added, “They said if we installed a sidewalk there and review it after a year (they’ll) see if there’s numbers that would justify a crossing beacon there … in the future.”

McPherson said the Louis Street sidewalk project proposal is against MDOT’s Complete Streets policy to install sidewalk on only one side of residential streets, so that proposal is out.

“With those considerations, we came up with some different proposals, especially at the intersections of Beardsley and Brockway,” he said. “We were going to add flashers similar to the flashers that are on the pedestrian signs prior to the crossings on Brockway but these would also be located at the crossing, and those would be remote controlled during the pickup and let-out hours by the school.”

McPherson said they would also add two streetlights at each location, which would match the streetlights downtown, because both crossings had been identified as fairly dark.

The Lewis Street project had been eliminated.

With those changes, the project is estimated at $440,000.

There is no match required for the grant but it is capped at $400,000.

The city would have to cover an estimated $40,792 in construction costs if the bids come in as estimated.

The city would also be responsible for $78,300 in engineering design and construction engineering costs.

Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord said, as usual, he wants to see taxpayer dollars used wisely, but added that he is absolutely in support of ensuring children can cross streets safely.

The approximately $118,000 the city will have to cover would come from the city’s sidewalk fund.

Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom also supported the project, but asked about some potential cost-saving areas, like a portion of sidewalk that is already in good shape.

McPherson said the final determination on what sidewalk pieces will be totally or partially reconstructed will happen before the project begins.

The rest of the board supported the project, which has been in the works for nearly five years, with a unanimous vote to allow C2AE to go forward with the design work.

boyne safe routes to school groundbreaking web
Pictured at the Tuesday July 12 groundbreaking ceremony are (from left) Larry Fox of C2AE engineering firm, Boyne City Manager Michael Cain, an unidentified representative of Hunt Brothers Construction, Boyne City Commissioner Delbert Gene Towne, Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Little, Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom, 37th District Michigan State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City, Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann, Boyne City Commissioner Ron Grunch, Elaine Grunch, Boyne City Commissioner Hugh Conklin, and Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer. PHOTO BY CHRIS FAULKNOR