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      Bridge controversy heating up

      A local township official is reigniting the need for a Hammond-Hartman Road connector saying commissioners need to address current and future traffic congestion.

      Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn sent a letter outlining his thoughts to the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.

      This is regarding the recent decision to build a new Cass Road crossing over the Boardman River instead of two other options which included connecting Hartman and Hammond Roads by building a bridge.

      â??It's been a long and controversial issue,â?? said Garfield Township Supervisor Chuck Korn.

      He wants a bridge connecting Hartman and Hammond Roads to ease congestion on local roads.

      â??I think there's a process we need to go through in order to make the right decision and I think that there's an effort going on right now to short circuit that process to kinda rush us into building a bridge that we don't need that won't serve the community.â??

      Korn says the Hartman-Hammond option is the best solution for current and future traffic congestion.

      â??A lot of these vehicles are running in heavy traffic through neighborhoods where people with kids are trying to get across the street to get to the parks.â??

      While Jim Cook of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission says a Hartman-Hammond connector is a good idea, the $3.1 million grant is already in place to pay for the Cass Road project.

      â??The bottom line: we've confirmed it several times with MDOT. This grant came from the critical bridge fund that cannot be transferred to another location,â?? said Cook.

      Cook is not ruling out a bridge in the future and agrees that something has to be done about Traverse City's traffic congestion.

      â??This really is probably something that should'veâ?| stayed on course so we're maybe talking about building it now verses redesigning and permitting and things like that but it will get going again.â??

      The structural integrity of the Cass Road bridge is also a big concern of the road commission.

      On a scale of 100, the bridge has a rating of four, and officials want to replace this bridge sooner rather than later.