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      County gives Elmer's green light for road work

      Nine road projects, spanning 40 miles, were given the green light Thursday night.

      Grand Traverse County road commissioners awarded Team Elmer's all nine bids, totaling $3,833,442.40.

      The nine projects are being funded strictly by the money raised by the millage voters approved in November.

      Residents approved a three-year one mill addition to their property taxes to help with those road improvements.

      â??We have about 40 miles of road projects proposed,â?? said Jim Cook, Grand Traverse County Road Commission manager. â??They all came in within budget, so we're going to do 100 percent of what we said we were going to do.â??

      Currently, only 20 percent of roads in Grand Traverse County are rated as "good." Commissioners plan to flip that percentage to 80 over the next 20 years.

      â??Potholes were bad last year; they're probably going to be worse this year. We want to do between 80 and 100 miles of road projects every year,â?? said Cook.

      The projects will cover a lot of ground within the county.

      â??It's really exciting to be able to touch so many areas in the community,â?? said Toby Javin, Grand Traverse County Road Commission superintendent. â??Jim Johnson, our highway engineer, has worked hundreds and hundreds of hours, as well as our staff, collecting data and trying to come up with the best fix.â??

      For a list of the proposals, visit the road commissionâ??s website.

      â??I hope everyone can bear with us because we are going to be able to affect a lot of roads. It's going to be exciting for Grand Traverse County,â?? said Javin. â??It's a big year. I don't think there's ever been 70 miles affected in Grand Traverse County before. We're excited to get them taken care of.â??

      More projects will be undertaken using state and federal funds. The commission will be going over those bids in the next few weeks.

      Work on the projects will get started as soon as the frost is out of the ground.

      The state will be helping road commissions across the state that didn't plan for such an extreme winter.

      Cook said Grand Traverse Countyâ??s budget is in good shape. â??They're going to help all the other agencies balance their budgets, but for us, hopefully, it will be a bonus for us and we'll be able to go out and fix more roads.â??