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.”