Hubbard Lake Road being prepped for improvements

HUBBARD LAKE – A survey crew kept busy in freezing weather Wednesday, pounding construction stakes into the ground for the next phase of permits required to rebuild an 8,000-foot section of Hubbard Lake Road.

The pavement, from Bennett to Spruce roads, is scheduled to be replaced sometime this summer, if all goes according to plan, Jesse Campbell, Alcona County Road Commission managing director, said Wednesday. Bids should go out in April for the the project, which includes crushing the existing surface, adding road base material, replacing culverts, and putting down a new asphalt surface with a three-foot paved shoulder.

“There have been a lot of complaints,” Campbell said.

The roadway cuts through a swampy, low-laying area, and seasonal freezing and thawing causes the asphalt to shift and crack.

Improvements were last made in 1984. A crew covered the road’s surface with a layer of asphalt, which was the accepted practice at the time, Campbell said.

The best time to construct the new $562,875 roadway will be in July or August, when the area has dried out, he said.

However, those months also are a busy time for summer activities and could impact local businesses, including Churchill Pointe Inn, a popular restaurant and lodge open May through October.

The restaurant, and other businesses also could be affected in 2014 when the county improves the remaining 1.5 miles of Hubbard Lake Road from Bennett to Hubert roads, Campbell said.

The county held a public hearing on improvements in January.

In 2006, the last time a road count was made, an average of 565 vehicles traveled that section of Hubbard Lake Road daily, he said.

One of the biggest parts of the project involves tearing out and replacing culverts under the road that drain water from the swamp, Campbell said. An examination of bore holes done in October revealed that underneath the road bed is an 8-inch layer of moist sand and silt mixed together.

County commissioners want the road kept open at least for local property owners, but a detour will be required for through traffic.

Closures will be up to the road contractor who submits the winning bid, Campbell said.

More than $204,000 of the cost is being provided by Caladonia Township, which levys a road millage tax from property owners. Campbell also was able to secure $358,310 at a recent Region 9 Rural Task Force meeting, where money collected by state and federal agencies is divided up based on priorities.

According to the commission, other road projects are scheduled for 2014. They include reconstruction of Bamfield Road from M-65 east to North Lake Road east of Glennie. Bamfield, from AuSable Road west a half mile, will also be improved with a new guardrail, signage and some realignment. Work is also set for Black River Road, from US-23 to F-41 in Alcona Township.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.