A Change In Plans As Needed Roadwork In Douglas Will Start Soon, Say City Officials
The $433,000 Blue Star Highway improvement project will move forward this spring after all, Douglas City officials announced last week.
The city wants to fix depressed surfaces and smooth out the road by resurfacing it from Wiley Road to the city limits at the south end, which serves as a gateway to both Douglas and the City of Saugatuck as visitors come in from I-196 via exit 36.
Besides the mill and overlay, the road will also be widened on both sides for a total of four feet to make two on-road bike paths: one on the west side and another on the east side.
The project is part of the ongoing effort to improve the corridor as well as make the city more walker- and biker-friendly.
Last month, city representatives reported the project would be postponed due to a cost much higher than what officials initially anticipated: $83,000.
However, the city misunderstood Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) numbers, Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told Local Observer Newspapers recently.
The city is responsible for only 20 percent ($16,625) of that $83,000 overage, clarified LeFevere. It was through MDOT that the city secured a state and federal grant worth a total of $350,000 to cover most of the expenses related to the road improvements.
This latest news is significant for the city. It means the project will proceed as initially planned.
The improvements more than likely will be completed by Memorial Day—before the beginning of a busy summer tourist season—and at a cost which makes the two bike paths possible to include in the project.
“There is plenty of shoulder there, but not paved shoulder,” LeFevere has previously indicated in discussions about the project.
The two bike paths will be an addition to the the ongoing project known as the Blue Star Trail, a paved, 20-mile, non-motorized pathway stretching from South Haven to Saugatuck.
That path will be laid down on the west side of the street.
The total cost of the project comes to $433,000, with the city paying only $16,625 of that amount thanks to the MDOT grant.
The construction job was awarded to the lowest bidder, Michigan Paving and Materials Company.