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Published: Friday, 7/16/2004

Michigan gives $1M grant to fix Ann Arbor Rd.

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DUNDEE, Mich. - A main road to a developing engine-plant complex on the north side of town will get a face-lift largely funded with a state grant.

The $1,014,994 grant for Ann Arbor Road was one of five Transportation Economic Development Fund awards statewide that Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Department of Transportation announced jointly yesterday.

Once the main route between Dundee and its namesake city before the U.S. 23 highway was built, Ann Arbor Road's concrete pavement today is plagued with cracks and rough joints. The "major repair" project will include concrete replacement, joint repairs, surface grinding, and shoulder paving between Hatter and Cone roads.

The construction will primarily benefit the twin Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plants under construction across U.S. 23 from the Cabela's sporting goods store, but Bruce Coventry, president of Global Engine, noted that it "will improve the quality of life for everyone who uses Ann Arbor Road."

"Governor Granholm has delivered on everything she said she'd do," Mr. Coventry told The Blade. "This confirms the state's commitment to provide economic and noneconomic direct support."

The Monroe County Road Commission will contribute 20 percent, or $253,736, of the project's cost.

Other projects on the list are in Delta, Menominee, Montmorency, and Wayne counties. The Wayne project involves rebuilding a decrepit stretch of Fort Street in Detroit that runs near the city's Marathon-Ashland oil refinery.

Global Engine, a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler Corp., Hyundai Motor America, and Mitsubishi Motors North America, is spending $700 million to build the two plants that are expected to produce 840,000 vehicle engines annually when in full operation.

The plants are expected to have about 550 production workers making an average of $30 per hour, plus 30 headquarters staff and 150 people employed by service firms.

Production at the first plant is expected to start next spring, with the second to begin operations in 2006. Details about the Ann Arbor Road construction schedule were not available yesterday.

The Dundee grant announcement followed by one day MDOT's release of Small Urban Program grants totalling $375,000 apiece to Lenawee County and the city of Hillsdale for road improvements and, in Lenawee County, public transit.

MDOT is contributing $343,000 toward the $568,750 estimated cost to replace the Valley Road bridge near Carson Highway. The Lenawee County Road Commission will fund the balance. Also, Lenawee County Transit and Adrian Dial-A-Ride will receive $16,000 apiece for bus maintenance and communications equipment.

In Hillsdale, the state's $375,000 will help pay for the $550,000 reconstruction of North Hillsdale Street between Carleton Road and Barber Drive, an 0.8-mile stretch. The city of Hillsdale will pay $175,000.

Contact David Patch at:

dpatch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6094.



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