Some changes could be coming to Napier Avenue between I-94 and US-31. The Berrien County Board of Commissioners was told Thursday the Michigan Department of Transportation is offering to grant ownership of that stretch of road back to the county because the amount of traffic it gets has dropped significantly since the completion of the bypass between US-31 and I-94. Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette told commissioners this transfer could be an opportunity.
“The benefit of this is when MDOT is transferring the road to us, they are also bringing in funding to rebuild it to essentially new condition,” Dissette said. “So, if the board agrees to accept the transfer of ownership, you’ll also be receiving a substantial amount of funding.”
That amount is about $1.8 million. The Berrien County Road Department is considering putting that stretch of Napier on a road diet, dropping it down to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Commission Chair Mac Elliott questioned that idea.
“I would be opposed to tearing out what’s there only to possibly have to go back and build it later,” Elliott said. “I would rather bank that money than spend it ripping out five lanes of all-weather road.”
Elliott said with two major highways between that section of road, development could be coming that would necessitate a large road. Dissette said a resolution could be coming to the board to accept the ownership of the road with a rebuild plan to follow. Entities in the affected area, like Lake Michigan College, will be kept in the loop regarding any plans.