Local economic groups hope new study will trigger MDOT investment

Feb 5, 2018

Mid Michigan economic groups are advocating for a full access highway between Ithaca and St. Johns, Michigan.

A twenty thousand dollar study released Monday pointed to the 16-mile strip of US-127 as increasing the number of accidents and decreasing economic activity in the region.

James McBryde is the President and CEO of Middle Michigan Development Corporation, which covers Isabella and Clare counties. He said the research was primarily funded through an 18-thousand dollar grant from the Eastern Michigan Council of Governments.

“What we have tried to do with the study is give MDOT a reason to put this on the priority list and to consider doing something about 127 and improving it to full expressway at some point in the future.”

McBryder said researchers compared traffic between Lansing and Jackson and Ithaca to St. Johns.

“When you normalize the numbers, serious injury we’re looking at a five year total Ithaca to St. Johns is 88 and Lansing to Jackson 29.”

McBryde said companies look for full access highways before investing.

“It’s really impossible to know what we didn’t get. We just know that when we talk to companies and when we talk to site selectors that we get excluded when companies are looking at the fact that they don’t have that expressway in place.”

McBryde said the Michigan Department of Transportation is reviewing the study and he is hopeful the research will make a full access highway a priority.