Kennecott Minerals announced its plans Monday for an alternative road from its proposed mine site to its mill in Humboldt.
It's called Woodland Road and Kennecott has teamed up with A. Lindberg and Sons, The Michigan Forest Products Council and business and landowner, John Jilbert, to form Woodland Road LLC.
The proposed 22 mile road will start on the AAA road near the mine site, then will use existing logging and snowmobile trails to connect to Wolf Lake Road, then to County Rd. AAD and finally to County Rd. FY, where it hits US-41 one mile east of M-95 and near Kennecott's proposed Humboldt Mill.
The new Woodland Road LLC says that means less truck traffic from Kennecott and logging companies on County Rd. 510, 550 and Marquette city streets.
"We're avoiding all the major population centers within the county," states Matt Johnson with Kennecott and Woodland LLC. "The Woodland Road design avoids direct impacts to anyone along that corridor. Most residents live in the south end of Wolf Lake Road and we've transported or designed the road away from those residents."
Well I think it's a tremendously convenient route to go with the proposed alternative Woodland on the western part of the county because it would alleviate much of the truck traffic that residents are seeing in the city of Marquette, said Kevin Korpi, Executive Director of Michigan Forest Products Council.
Kennecott says the new road will be unpaved, privately owned and maintained, but will be open to the public. It will cut 38 miles from the originally proposed route on County Road 510, 550, Wright Street and US-41 to the mill.
It TMs a $50 million project that the group says will create 125 new jobs and 12 ongoing maintenance crew jobs.
Woodland Road LLC hopes to begin construction in 2011 and have it completed by late 2013.
Meanwhile, Kennecott spokesperson Deb Muchmore told TV6 Monday she expects a ruling on the two contested cases as early as this week. An administrative law judge is deciding the legality of Kennecott's mining and water permits from the DEQ.
Even if a ruling comes this week, Kennecott still has the mining project on hold until economic conditions improve.