|By James Bruckbauer
Deputy Director, Groundwork
firstname.lastname@example.orgTransportation Officials Keep Pushing Misguided Boardman River Bridge Plan – More Details To Be Unveiled TuesdayTomorrow, Nov. 9, road officials will unveil new estimated costs for building roads over the Boardman River, and we encourage you to listen in and advocate for smarter transportation solutions.
Most locals agree that Traverse City’s transportation system is broken. Existing roads are often congested, and few people have, or are knowledgeable about, transportation options other than driving.
While other towns are putting in place visionary strategies for fixing existing roads and building new technology, transit, and mobility options to help people get around efficiently without depending on a car, our local road leaders are still pushing for outdated ideas that simply never die.
Grand Traverse County road officials are continuing to promote a new road over the Boardman River south of Traverse City. They say it will solve traffic issues in the region, but even their own consultants said investing in existing roads would be a more cost-effective approach.
The idea for the bridge connecting Hartman and Hammond roads was first put forward nearly two decades ago by the Grand Traverse County Road Commission as part of proposed Traverse City bypass. Community opposition quickly formed, and a public debate about transportation solutions started and still exists to this day. Groundwork (then named Michigan Land Use Institute) was part of a coalition of groups that made a case against the bridge as being ineffective, environmentally damaging, and an expensive waste of taxpayer money. Fifteen years ago, we worked with partners to develop Smart Roads, a plan that uses existing roads to move traffic while investing in public transit and building walkable/bikeable communities. Those same principles are more relevant today than ever, and Groundwork and others remain firmly opposed to building a new bridge over the Boardman River.
On Tuesday, a study team will unveil multiple options and estimated construction costs for new vehicle crossings over the Boardman River, including the Hartman-Hammond connection, using the existing Cass Road Bridge, or building a bridge at the former Sabin Dam.
You’ll see more details about the Hartman-Hammond bridge’s high costs (estimated between $60 and $82 million) and how little it will reduce traffic on Traverse City streets.
While a new bridge would provide short-term traffic relief on roads in Garfield Township like S. Airport Road and Cass Road, traffic study after traffic study confirms that any new bridge would take very few cars off roads in Traverse City, like Grandview Parkway and Front Street. Our region needs a far-reaching and cost-effective transportation strategy that provides real solutions, not a multi-million dollar bridge project that threatens a sensitive environmental and natural recreation area and does not solve traffic congestion.
The meeting will be held at the Networks Northwest Conference Center at 1209 S. Garfield Avenue, Traverse City, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. An introductory presentation will be followed by an open-house meeting in which people can provide feedback. Stay tuned for more ways you can weigh in on the study.
We hope you’ll make your voice heard to oppose the bridge and advocate for modern transportation solutions.