M‑99 will get resur­faced this summer. Collegian|Josephine Von Dohlen

M‑99 will undergo resur­facing this summer funded by Michigan’s Department of Trans­portation Jackson Trans­portation Service Center.

Main­tained by MDOT, M‑99 is located in the lower peninsula along the border of Ohio, running through Hillsdale County.

Jason Pittman, cost and sched­uling engineer for MDOT Jackson TSC, said this project involves three sec­tions of the highway. The first section includes old M‑99, which runs north of Beck Road to South Lake Wilson Road. The second portion starts from Steinberg Road and con­tinues south to the southern Steamburg Road inter­section. And the third part is north of the Fayette Street M‑99 inter­section to north of the Arch Avenue M‑99 inter­section.

The first two sec­tions are part of the Non-Freeway Resur­facing program, while the third section is under MDOT Jackson TSC’s annual main­te­nance program. All of them are state funded, Pittman said.

“No taxes were raised to pay for them; rather, it’s money that’s already in the program,” Pittman said. “It did come from tax money, but the job itself didn’t require raising the taxes.”

Jake Hammel, director of public ser­vices for the City of Hillsdale, said this project is entirely under MDOT Jackson TSC, not Hillsdale.

“I hounded them about this and they finally took the deal,” Hammel said. “It’s the state’s road, not the city’s. MDOT is going to fix it, they’ll source the manager and fund the project.”

Hammel said it’s been 20 years since M‑99 was resur­faced. After this project, he expects the road to last around six to eight years, pos­sibly even 10 if it’s well main­tained.

A major issue for this highway is its rough surface from expansion, con­tracting, and heaving, Hammel said. This problem might result in some parts of the highway requiring more than two inches of asphalt. But for now, Hammel said main­te­nance will con­tinue keeping the road as dri­vable as pos­sible until it’s recon­structed, which might happen within the next 10 to 15 years.

“This is surface main­te­nance, not recon­struction,” Hammel said. “I just hope it’ll be more dri­vable from the resur­facing until recon­struction.”

For now, these are just short-term fixes. They are looking at long-term solu­tions, but the funding for those projects haven’t been deter­mined yet, Pittman said.

“Right now, we have a five year program, but cur­rently the rehab and recon­struction projects aren’t in it,” Pittman said. “But main­te­nance will con­tinue after these roads are resur­faced.”

Hammel said he hopes research is being done to come up with new methods for longer lasting roads.

“This isn’t my road, but I’m happy that they’re going to make it more dri­vable and useable for the near future,” Hammel said. “Longterm, I think new methods should be some­thing that they need to con­sider.”

Driving on this highway often, sophomore Claire Lupini said she is looking forward to the smoother rides this resur­facing will bring in the near future.

“It’s exciting that I won’t have to worry about my car breaking, the ice, and the pot holes,” Lupini said. “It’ll be frus­trating for the people living nearby during con­struction, but it’ll be nicer and safer to drive on.”