MONROE - In an effort to alleviate traffic congestion and offer safer conditions, Monroe Charter Township officials have approved a long-intended plan that will extend West Seventh Street near Monroe High School for about a mile.
"I think it's a great, positive move," said Monroe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jerry Oley, whose district includes the high school. "We have 1,500 to 1,800 students out on our highway on a daily basis. This will give them an alternative. It's certainly a project worth supporting.
Township Clerk Bob Schnurr said the township trustees approved paying $65,000 to Dietrich, Bailey and Associates of Plymouth, Mich., to handle preliminary engineering work.
The proposal will extend West Seventh across a wooded field owned by the township to Herr Road. Presently, school traffic is backing up on nearby South Custer Road at Herr with students trying to make left turns into the school property. With the new road, students will be able to travel along West Seventh, go right on Herr, and then right into the school, alleviating conditions on South Custer, Mr. Schnurr said.
"It's a safety [issue]. Quite a few kids are getting into accidents," he said.
The property, which was donated to the township years ago, is a wooded field that also has a drain running through - a concern to township officials.
"We need to make sure we don't run into any [problems]," Mr. Schnurr said.
The project will also require approval from the state's Department of Environmental Quality.
"[That's why] we want to get started on it now," Mr. Schnurr said.
He said the project is expected to cost $900,000 to $1 million. At present, the township has about $600,000 secured in its general fund for the project. Mr. Schnurr said efforts will be made to secure funding from other sources, such as state and federal grants.
In addition to county support, Mr. Schnurr said the city of Monroe and high school officials have endorsed the project.
"Everybody seems to be on board. We didn't want to push it through and find out [nobody] liked it," he said.
Mr. Oley said the county would not be able to contribute funds to the project. But he said Monroe Township gets a percentage of about $700,000 distributed annually from the commission to the county's townships and municipalities for various road improvements.
Contact George Tanber