President Obama Highlights Michigan Road Project

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

April 13, 2009

I-94 reconstruction in Kalamazoo County 2,000th Recovery Act road project

LANSING - In a speech in Washington, D.C., today, President Barack Obama announced that reconstruction of Interstate 94 at Westnedge Avenue in Kalamazoo County is the 2,000th highway project approved under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).  The President also praised the efforts of Michigan and other states to bring projects in on time and under budget.  To date, bids on Michigan's Recovery Act road projects have come in 17 percent below projected cost. 

"Michigan contractors are lining up to deliver highly-competitive bids on Recovery Act road projects, saving taxpayer dollars while putting thousands of Michigan workers back on the job," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.  "Efficient use of these funds will enable us to create additional jobs repairing even more Michigan roads and bridges."

Recovery Act infrastructure dollars will fund the second phase of a major reconstruction project in Kalamazoo County.  This phase, which includes the reconstruction and widening of 1.9 miles of I-94 at Westnedge Avenue in Portage, is expected to cost $68 million and create approximately 1,888 jobs.  Construction on the project is expected to begin in mid-June.

The project includes construction of a single point urban interchange at I-94 and Westnedge Avenue and the reconstruction and widening of two structures over the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  Sound walls will be added to the interchange for noise abatement.  The city of Portage also is supporting the project by investing $21 million to reconstruct and widen Westnedge Avenue - the major commercial district serving Kalamazoo County - both north and south of I-94. 

Interstate 94 is a heavily-traveled commercial artery linking Michigan to several Midwestern states and Ontario, Canada.  The section of I-94 running through Kalamazoo County carries more vehicles per day than any other 4-lane freeway in the state, with traffic volumes ranging from 57,000 vehicles to over 81,000 vehicles per day.

"This Recovery Act project will help us add vital capacity to one of the busiest sections of commercial highway in the state," said Granholm.  "Expanding and improving this portion of I-94 will provide added incentive for new businesses to locate in southwest Michigan and fuel economic growth all along the I-94 corridor."

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