Detour to stay as it is

ALPENA – The current detour being used on M-65 North because of a closed bridge will remain in effect, though help for the damaged caused to roads used by the detour may be coming.

Representatives from the Alpena County Road Commission and the Presque Isle County Road Commission met with the Michigan Department of Transportation to discuss concerns and find solutions regarding the detour caused by the closure. The road commissions wanted the state to investigate an alternate route to help reduce the amount of wear and tear the roads will receive because of the increase of traffic and truck use. On Tuesday the Alpena County Road Commission received a letter from MDOT that stated it was not inclined to make adjustments to the detour, but offered its word in writing that it would partner with the two counties to help repair any damage incurred after the construction is complete.

Managing Director Larry Orcutt said vehicles, including large semi trucks, have been using roads that are not on the detour and they already have been impacted. He said there are signs in place notifying truck drivers not to use the “shortcuts,” but they are still being used to a certain degree. Orcutt said the county is doing what it can to maintain the road, as well as keep the dust level down for the people who live on the roads.

“The added traffic is beating up the gravel portions and at this point it is something we will have to continue to monitor,” Orcutt said. “The weather is also a factor because of the rain, so it will need to be grated maybe as much as each week. The initial application we put on for dust control we were hoping would last longer than what it has. We will have to reapply accordingly, but that costs about $4,500 a week.”

The commissioners and Superintendent Curt Gonyea said they have noticed a decrease in the amount of semi-truck traffic on the side roads and believe it is due to the increased patrol of police in the area of the detour.

“We sent a letter to law enforcement asking them to help patrol the area, hoping to discourage truck traffic on the roads that are not designated and it sounds like that has happened to a certain extent,” Orcutt said. “Hopefully word of that will spread and that will help minimize it even more.”

Orcutt said during the last meeting that the work on the bridge was behind schedule by several weeks and may not be complete until September. He said on Tuesday that he has not received an update on the progress since the last road commission meeting.

In other business;

  • the commissioners approved spending $3,745 to replace a garage door at the road commission. The work will be done by Overhead Door in Alpena and the company will take down the damaged door, as well as haul it away for disposal.
  • the board received two bids for aggregate from a pair of Northeast Michigan suppliers, Team Elmer’s of Hillman and Specifications Stone Products of Alpena who submitted prices and they were filed until orders are needed.
  • the meeting scheduled for June 18 has been canceled and the next meeting will be held on July 2 at 3 p.m. at the county garage.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at