Construction project to transform look, feel of Deerfield Road
Central Michigan University students living in Deerfield Village, Timber Creek and Lexington Ridge apartments in the fall semester will notice much-needed aesthetic changes to their road.
Construction on the Deerfield road started on May 23 and will continue until Sept. 23, according to the Tony Casali, manager of the Isabella County Road Commission.
When finished, the additions to Deerfield Road will include a new turning lane – transforming Deerfield into three-lane road – as well as new walking paths toward CMU and a storm drain.
“It’s all shot,” Casali said of the road's structural condition. “Everything needs to be constructed or overlaid. Shoulders, sewers, pavement. Everything.”
In order to address the issue, the road commission had to apply for a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation. That grant, known as the enhancement and safety grant, gave them $800,000 for the project, said Russ Alwood, the Union Township supervisor.
Union Township had to support the road commission in order to receive the grant. However, the commission was not able to attract support for the grant from Mount Pleasant officials or CMU.
This lack of support posed a challenge for the road commission as they tried to move forward with the project.
“MDOT wanted the county road commission to do it” said Union Township Trustee Rodger Hauck. “They’re not going to pay for it, but they want them to be the applicant for the grant.”
Additions to Deerfield Road
The new walking trail is slated to be placed from the Old Mission Party Store, located at 5030 S. Mission Road, and will stretch to Deerfield Road, crossing over to Crawford Street and connecting over to West Campus Drive.
As the trail travels down South Mission Street, it will connect to East Blanchard Road, leading bikers or those going for a stroll into Shepherd.
Hauck said the purpose of the trail is to offer pedestrian access to St. Louis, Alma and Ithaca, linking those cities to the Fred Myers trail.
For now, the drainage portion is the focus for constructions crews, installing a large concrete pipe underneath Deerfield Road to divert rainwater away from CMU’s drain, Alwood said.
Once the roadwork is complete, Alwood anticipates Deerfield Road will have fewer car accidents, and with about six inches of blacktop, be more durable for semi-trucks to drive on.
By the time students move into the apartments on Deerfield Road, he said the stretch of tarmac will be considered a "Class A" road.
“The residents were glad to have (the construction work) done," Alwood said. "It will be great for the students. It will make it easier for them to get to class and they can bike to class if the want to. At least they’ll have a nice, good trail to walk on.”