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Will Stager Lake Road be U.S. 2 detour?

IRON RIVER—The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to rebuild part of U.S. 2 and 141 south of Crystal Falls sometime in the next few years.
    But what does MDOT plan to do with all the traffic on U.S. 2 and 141?
    That issue was discussed during the Iron County Road Commission’s Oct. 15 monthly regular meeting, and it seems there is no simple answer.
    Superintendent Doug Tomasoski told commissioners that MDOT is doing design work to reconstruct U.S. 2 between County Road 424 and the Wisconsin state line.
    “They’re looking at possibly doing a complete reconstruct,” he said. That would involve taking out the concrete and completely rebuilding the roadway.
    For a project like that, a detour would be needed to handle the traffic, and Tomasoski said MDOT is looking at Stager Lake Road, which is much narrower and much more curvy than current highway.
    “We want to be cooperative,” he said. “We want it to be in the best interests of the county and our maintenance.
    “But our concern is, we just spent $150,000 on a chip-seal on that [Stager Lake] road, about a month or more on crack-filling prior to the chip-seal.
    “That road is 20 years old. It was a crush and shape and pave—it’s not like it was a reconstructed road with 270 pounds of asphalt. It’s only 2½ inches of asphalt.”
    Mastodon Township paid for the last mile of the project, “So there’s a lot of investment in that,” Tomasoski said. “As much as we want to cooperate, I just can’t see putting trunkline traffic on our road.”
    The state is not forcing the detour, he told commissioners, and is discussing other ideas. One possibility: using Stager Lake Road for just one lane of traffic while using half of the highway during construction.
    Tomasoski said he told the MDOT officials during a phone conference that they are planning to rebuild the road and put in 4 inches of blacktop, “and our road only has 2½ to start with.”

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