Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Bessemer extends comment period for US 2 detour


[email protected]

Bessemer — The Bessemer City Council tabled the approval of the detour route for the U.S. 2 project on Monday to allow ample time for those residents that were unable to attend Monday's public hearing to submit written comments and questions. Residents will have until Oct. 5 to offer their comments, questions and suggestions to city manager Charly Loper.

The U.S. 2 project starts in 2021, however, the detours won’t be in place until 2022.

Councilman Bill McDonald pushed for the tabling of the route as he felt that there were many people who would want to say something that couldn't get online for the public hearing. There were only three residents who joined the Zoom meeting on Monday and many have since viewed a recording of the meeting on Facebook, according to Loper.

“If we can wait one more meeting I don't know that it’s a bad idea because, like Bill said, there could be people that couldn't get on or haven't gotten on, couldn't figure out how to un-mute, or couldn't make it. This will give an ample opportunity for them to get ahold of you at the city or have their comments heard before we actually make the decision,” Mayor Adam Zak said.

The detour route in question was discussed in great detail during a public hearing that was held via Zoom just prior to the council's regular meeting on Monday night. Several members of the Michigan Department of Transportation attended the meeting to speak about the route and field questions during the hour-long hearing.

The proposed detour route for eastbound traffic goes south on Mill Street, turns east on Galena Street and then south on Moore Street, turning east on Longyear Street and then it is optional to return north to U.S. 2 via Clayberg or Peck streets.

Westbound traffic will be able to remain on the highway for most of the construction, however when MDOT starts repairs on the sewer lines under Moore Street and Sophie Street, a detour will be required as they are “deeply buried.” The detour for westbound traffic will go north on Case Street, turn west on Iron Street and then south on Mine Street to go back to U.S. 2.

The detour will mean parking will be limited at times in the area around the project. According to information presented in the meeting, parking will only be available on the south side of Iron Street. There will be no parking on the 100 blocks of North Case and North Mine, the 100 block of South Mill Street will only have parking on the east side, the 100 to 400 blocks of West Galena Street will have parking on the north side of the street. The 200 block of South Moore Street will only have parking available on the east side of the street. Parking on the 100 to 500 East blocks of Longyear Street will be on the west side of the road and parking on the 100 to 200 blocks of South Peck and South Clayberg will be on the west side of the road.

“I personally don't think there is any really good route, but I do think that every route possible has been explored by many, many, many people and I think this is probably the best route that we have, and I think we should move forward with it.” said councilwoman Linda Nelson.

“I know for a fact that we have explored about every route possible. Matter of fact I know that MDOT was wanting to use Iron Street and I know that a lot of us were not in favor of that so we pushed to find a different route. I've driven the streets with Dave Bradley of MDOT. There was a lot of routes that we looked at,” said Zak.

According to Loper, the portion of the detour on Iron Street will be in place about three weeks. The long portion of the detour will take place in the summer of 2022.

Zak said that by giving people the extra two weeks time to get their written comments in, nobody would be able to say that the council didn't give them every opportunity to have their voices heard.

The city council also:

—Voted to start issuing fees to the owners of 304 Lead Street and 212 Second Avenue. The property owners had been given several extensions to fix blight issues on their properties and have not made any improvements.

—Voted to subdivide one large city-owned lot that is adjacent to the homes of five residents and allow for the purchase of pieces of it by the owners of the adjacent homes for $100 each.

—Announced that the city had received its new pick-up trucks the city will use for plowing. The trucks were purchased with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture which covered 75% of the purchase.

The council will meet again on Oct. 5.