MERIDIAN TWP. (AP) – Residents are debating $850,000 in repairs proposed for one of Ingham County’s worst roads.
The argument is over Cornell Road, one of two in the county designated as a “Natural Beauty” road. As such, the two-mile stretch does not have to meet state standards for most other roads.
But the tree-lined road now has so many potholes that the Ingham County Department of Transportation and Roads has given it one of its worst possible ratings and is proposing an $850,000 reconstruction, according to the Lansing State Journal.
The Meridian Township Board of Trustees and Ingham County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings this month on the proposal. State law governing such roads requires both boards to approve the plan.
The project calls for resurfacing the road with new asphalt, adding 2-foot wide paved shoulders, adding a foot of gravel shoulder and removals of trees and brush within 15 feet of the roadside.
The cost and proposed destruction of up to 500 trees along what is considered a scenic road is upsetting some county residents.
“It’s surprising and a bit depressing that it seems they’ve decided they need to cut down all those trees,” said Anne Woiwode, a former Meridian Township trustee and now the executive director of the Sierra Club of Michigan. “There are fantastic trees along the edge of the road.”
Township supervisor Elizabeth LeGoff said she had received around 15 e-mails from residents. Two of them favored the work.
Even some people who live along the road say the work is needed because of drainage and safety issues.
Michigan has 111 Natural Beauty roads in 28 counties, covering almost 213 miles.
Individual counties award the designations, which must be initiated by petitions from at least 25 property owners in a township.
Requirements include “outstanding natural features along its borders, including native trees and other native vegetation such as shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, and ferns, and open areas with scenic or natural vistas, which, singly or in combination, set a road apart from other roads as being something unique and distinct.”
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