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Napier Avenue road diet plan rejected by county commissioners

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The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has rejected a plan to put another section of Napier Avenue on a road diet.

The board this week approved a resolution officially opposing a Berrien County Road Department project that would reduce Napier from four lanes to two lanes with a center turn lane between I-94 and US-31.

Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette tells us the county does need to reconstruct Napier in that area in the next five years, but the road department’s plan for a reduction of lanes didn’t satisfy commissioners.

There is enough development occurring in that area that it had some on the board a little nervous that the lane reduction wasn’t a great idea,” Dissette said. “And then with the announcement of the state’s infusion of cash at Cornerstone to try and help develop the nearby site in Benton Charter Township, I think that was kind of like the last straw. They said there’s too much up in the air as far as total development.”

The county board in September approved a transfer of control of that section of Napier from the Michigan Department of Transportation to the county following the completion of the US-31 to I-94 connection. As part of that, MDOT provided the county $1.88 million to reconstruct the road.

Dissette says while that project will still happen, the board of commissioners wants the number of lanes to be preserved.

It’s back to the drawing board for the road department.

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