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Road projects benefit from bypass decision

IRON RIVER—After years of pushing plans for an Alpha bypass back into the future, county road commissioners Feb. 10 decided to push it waaay back.
    During its regular meeting, the Iron County Road Commission voted to shift plans for the bypass onto its “illustrative” list for some undefined time in the future.
    By doing so, it frees $400,000 in federal funding that has been allocated for the bypass and makes it available for other Iron County road projects.
    Local government officials should not get too excited right away. The bypass was on the county’s list of 2017 projects. Iron County’s 2015 and 2016 road projects, discussed at the Jan. 21 county rural task force meeting, won’t be affected.
    But with the Alpha bypass project moved off the 2017 list, it opens the door for other road projects that until now had neither been funded nor scheduled.
    Several candidates to move onto the 2017 list were mentioned at the task force meeting: Camp Five Road, Way Dam Road, Old 141, Rock Crusher Road, WPA Road, Buck Lake Road and Homer Road.   
    At the task force meeting, Road Commission Superintendent Doug Tomasoski said no funding was available for any of those projects. But, he explained, RTF projects can be moved up if more money becomes available or if other scheduled projects aren’t ready to go or are dropped from the list.
    At the Feb. 10 meeting, Tomasoski said those unfunded, “illustrative” projects had all been assigned a job number by MDOT. That puts them on standby, ready to be moved up if funding can be found.
    The Alpha bypass, a major topic during the Jan. 21 task force meeting, was added to the Feb. 10 commission agenda at the request of Commissioner Dan Germic, who agreed with Tomasoski that the matter needed to be resolved.
    Mastodon Township Supervisor Frank Siewiorek said he wanted the matter be decided before the end of 2015. “From my point of view,” he said, “Mastodon Township can’t get anything on that [project] list with that [the bypass] hanging over us.” He said some township residents thought Buck Lake Road had already been put on the project list for 2017.
    Siewiorek said he believes the Road Commission has delayed a bypass decision because of

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