City Council endorses DOT’s latest plan for State 23 freeway, frontage road

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The City Council added its endorsement to the state Department of Transportation’s latest concept for a frontage road north of the city.

The council approved a resolution supporting the DOT’s corridor preservation study for State 23 Tuesday.

The plan calls for an extension of Terrace Avenue in the town of Plymouth east to County OJ, with a new connector road running northwest from Fairview Drive south of State 23 via an overpass over State 23 to connect with the the extended Terrace Avenue as well.

The plan was presented by the DOT at a public meeting in late October and was roundly opposed by residents of the River Heights subdivision, which includes Terrace Avenue.

“This issue has been in front of the council for the four-and-a-half years I’ve been here and it’s still out there,” City Administrator Brian Yerges said of the frontage road plan.

He said the DOT plans a stakeholder meeting sometime next year to present more information on the plan. “The indication is that the DOT may finish the preservation study by the end of next year,” Yerges added.

The DOT’s long-range plan for State 23 north of the city of Plymouth is to upgrade it to a freeway, with access at Pleasant View Road, Highland Avenue (County E) and Fairview Drive (County O) closed off.

“We did work hard trying to keep (the frontage road) complete over the south side of State 23,” Public Works Director Bill Immich explained. That route is blocked by concerns over constructing another bridge over the Mullet River.

“We exhausted that issue with the DOT and DNR (Department of Natural Resources),” Immich continued. “We went back and tried to get an interchange at (County) E, but that’s just too close to (State) 57.”

As for the latest DOT plan, Immich said, “This seems to be the best alternative for the city versus the other two we can’t get. But it certainly doesn’t make the people on Terrace Drive happy.”

“I think we all realize this will not get done overnight,” Mayor Donald Pohlman said of upgrading State 23 to freeway status. “We’ve been in full discussions for years on this.”

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