State road officials begin study on dangers of Division

MDOT officials report that anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles pass through Division street each day.

A study has begun on one of Traverse City's busiest roads, Division Street, which also turns into US-31.

Since the street has become the scene for numerous accidents in the area, and frequently causes heavy traffic congestion, the Michigan Department of Transportation has begun work to investigate how to make it safer.

The study began at the beginning of the summer and involves counting how many vehicles pass through the area on a daily basis, along with any environmental and cultural resources in the area that the changes could impact. MDOT officials report that anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles pass through Division Street each day.

"We have to be sure we have a funding source to be able to conduct further investigations and then also eventually look at how much anything would cost to actually physically build," said Rise Rasch, Manager for the MDOT Transportation Service Center.

For many residents that live either on or beside the street, simple tasks like making a left hand turn to go home are a daily hassle.

"People go very very fast," said Nancy Gray, who lives on 8th Street. "Sometimes traffic can be really backed up and then of course you've got the drivers who are really impatient and they're speeding up behind you."

Some of the options for changes include the addition of a turn lane or traffic signal, reducing the speed limit, or adding a roundabout. Rasch says that as soon as the money is there, they'll be ready to investigate which is best.

"We would be poised and ready if all the stars align, and we can continue with more detailed investigations of Division Street," said Rasch.

When that time comes, MDOT officials say they wont rule out any option before thoroughly examining them all, and that they will include all parties that would be involved in any changes.

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