The proposed construction of County Road 595 in Marquette County has taken a major step forward. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has thrown its support behind the road after taking extensive input from the public.
The DEQ still needs permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a permit. The Director of the Michigan DEQ, Dan Wyant, sent a letter to the EPA asking them to remove their objections.
The EPA raised concerns over the road's impact on the environment and whether alternate routes were adequately considered. The DEQ says the Marquette County Road Commission has made significant improvements to their application to minimize the environmental impact.
County Road 595 will provide a more direct route from the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine to the Humboldt Mill and divert truck traffic from populated areas.
Jim Iwanicki of the Marquette County Road Commission told TV6 that he's happy the state has weighed in positively, and he's hoping the federal government will do the same.
"We're pretty excited here at the Road Commission now that the DEQ has finally weighed in formally," Iwanicki added. "They're in a position to issue a permit, and we hope their letter helps the EPA come to the same conclusion."
Congressman Dan Benishek called the development welcome news for Marquette County and all of northern Michigan. He called on the EPA to advance the project in an expeditious manner.