Bessemer eyes US 2 detour possibilities
September 10, 2020
By CHARITY SMITH
Bessemer - The city of Bessemer and the Michigan Department of Transportation will be having a virtual public hearing at 5 p.m. on Sept. 21 to discuss the proposed detour route for U.S. 2 traffic heading through the city's downtown district, during the reconstruction of the highway during in the summer of 2022.
"We've looked at numerous routes and this is the best route we've found. It's by no means perfect," said city manager Charly Loper, of proposed east- and west-bound detour routes. "We tried to stay away from schools as much as possible while keeping close to our businesses. We know the virus has hit many of our businesses hard and we want to make sure the detour route minimizes the loss to businesses."
The proposed detour route for eastbound U.S. 2 traffic goes south on Mill Street, turns east on Galena Street and then south on Moore Street, turning east on Longyear Street and then optional returns to the north to U.S. 2 on either Clayberg or Peck streets.
Westbound U.S. 2 traffic will be able to remain on the highway for most of the construction, however during repairs on the sewer lines under Moore Street and Sophie Street, a detour will be required as they are "deeply buried," Loper said.
The detour for westbound traffic will turn north on Case Street, then west on Iron Street and south on Mine Street back to U.S. 2.
Because of the detour parking will limited along these streets, according to Loper.
This is the second proposed route, as the original one was determined to be unacceptable, according to Loper.
"The detour route we were having went through private property, and it seemed to be going pretty smoothly until we took it to the attorney general for MDOT and it was a quick 'no,' and so we were back to the drawing board," Loper said.
Loper said she handed out letters to residents that will be most affected by the detour on Wednesday. The letters detail the proposed route, inform residents of the public hearing and offer ways for residents to voice their opinion on the subject as the hearing is going tobe held via Zoom.
During the public comment period of the hearing, Loper will read any and all comments submitted via email or sent to city hall. Residents will also be able to voice their opinion via phone, or Zoom.
MDOT will be offering a virtual tour of the proposed route on their website prior to the hearing at michgan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9621_1108-535784--,00.html. The tour will be available on the site about a week before the hearing.
The city council also accepted an offer from Corullo Forest Products to purchase lots 6 and 7 which are adjacent to its property, after Deon Corullo increased his offer to $7,500 for both lots. The purchase offer had been debated since early summer, because the lots were thought to be the only buildable lots available.
"I know this has been talked about over and over again. After the last time we talked, I met with Deon several times and I talked to him in detail to understand what they were planning on doing and what they needed the land for," said Mayor Adam Zak.
Zak said he was able to work with Loper and others and discovered the city had more buildable land available than what was originally thought.
The council also decided to proceed with having an engineer look into turning North Mine Street by A.D. Johnston Junior/Senior High School into a northbound one-way street, after hearing back from the school board and gaining its approval. The plan narrows the road to allow just one vehicle to get through and gives a pullout for buses at the west entrance of the school.
"I think everybody is getting hung up on details, but the biggest thing we should be worrying about is the safety of the kids," said councilman Lou Miskovich.
The council also decided to continue Zoom meetings through the end of the month and then reconsider in-person sessions at that time based on the rates of COVID-19 cases and status of the state of emergency.