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      Residents upset over proposed upgrades to Powell Township roads

      Residents packed the room of Tuesday night's Marquette County Road Commission (MCRC) meeting and expressed their concerns about upgrades to County Road 510 and the Triple A Road.

      Trucks carrying ore from Lundin's Eagle Mine are expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015.

      While road improvements are underway on County Road 550, residents were unhappy with the proposed repaving and realignment to County Road 510.

      "I think [and] I really encourage not design this road for 55 (miles per hour). Don't do it. Design it for 35 and keep it as close to the original track as you can," said Dennis Boe, Powell Township resident.

      Boe was one of many Marquette County residents who expressed their concerns on the proposed upgrades to about 13 miles of County Road 510 and the Triple A Road.

      Before public comment, the road commission addressed questions submitted by residents from a previous public hearing on County Road 510.

      "Question: What happened to CR 510 becoming a natural beauty road? Response: In 2000, MCRC Board considered it but chose not to make CR 510 a natural beauty road," said Jim Iwanicki, Marquette County Road Commission.

      The estimated cost of the road improvement project is nearly $21 million.

      Residents said the proposed plan is not about paving and straightening; they said it is an entirely new road being built.

      "I think everybody in this room would rather see a compromise and some re-engineering and some creativity other than a class "A" highway that we're going to have to worry about eight years after that mine has finished production that the tax payers are going to have to maintain," said Michael Sauer, Powell Township resident.

      The MCRC said 510 and the Triple A Road will be maintained by the road commission. They also said the straighter design and construction of the road will allow traffic speeds of 55 miles an hour.

      Although residents asked the road commission to hold additional public meetings to allow more discussion about the proposed changes, the road commission said a decision will be made on County Road 510 and the Triple A Road on October 21.