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      Road commission makes backup plan

      The Marquette County Road Commission has a plan in case County Road 595 doesn't get approved. County Road 595 would provide a route for trucks going to and from the Eagle Mine Project.

      The road commission is looking at upgrading County Road 550 to an all-season road as an alternative route for the trucks. Currently 550 is not an all-season road and has weight restrictions during the spring. The commission is awaiting word from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding their objections to the road project. Those who object say the new road would cut through wetlands and disrupt wildlife and their habitats.

      "The road commission's position is that we are pushing 595 and trying to get 595 permitted, but if that falls through, we do have a backup plan which is to improve the existing road system to allow all-season trucking," said Commissioner Jim Iwanicki.

      The EPA is reviewing the comments from a public forum held at Northern Michigan University back in August. The EPA has told the road commission they hope to have an answer in December. Rio Tinto will pay for the construction of County Road 595 if it is approved.