HARBERT — The Chikaming Township Board approved a Red Arrow Highway Union Pier Project agreement with the Berrien County Road Commission and OK’d financing of the township’s portion of the road work during its April 9 regular meeting (broadcast remotely via the Zoom app).

Township Supervisor David Bunte noted that the project is proceeding, with the first phase scheduled to begin on April 20th.

“That is the main sewer portion of this project shutting down the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Townline Road/Union Pier Road” for 4 to 6 weeks, he said, later adding that “hopefully that portion will be completed just before Memorial Day.”

According to a recent release from the County Road Commission, Red Arrow Highway between Community Hall Road and Berrien Street will be closed beginning Monday, April 20, with a posted detour route of Kruger Road to Lakeside Road to Warren Woods Road.

A contractor will be reconstructing the sewer located in the road right-of-way beginning on April 20 in preparation for Red Arrow Highway road construction slated to start in July 2020.

A Road Commision press release states: “Specific Red Arrow Highway intersections will be closed off to traffic, at different times for this project: Community Hall, Townline/Union Pier Road, Berrien Street. The associated work zone along Red Arrow Highway will have an established detour route (as noted above in this article) for all through traffic, until project is completed. Work is anticipated to take 4-5 weeks. The Berrien County Road Department and Wightman websites and Facebook pages will post information on the project. The Road Department offices also can be contacted at (269) 925-1196.

Bunte said on April 9 that the main road portion of the project, slated to begin after the Fourth of July, is still on schedule. He later said that part of the project will include an open lane for traffic on Red Arrow Highway instead of detours.

The cost estimate breakdown from the County Road Department (which is managing the project) were listed as $2.3 million for county; $750,416 for New Buffalo Township; and $718,363 for Chikaming Township; for a total of $3,778,875.

Bunte said Chikaming Township has secured a USDA grant (shared with New Buffalo Township) for $70,000; and $100,000 from The Pokagon Fund; he said another USDA grant (this one for $99,000) is being pursued. So he said the current amount owed to the Road Department by Chikaming Township is $580,353 (in the form of a loan from the township’s sewer department that would be paid back at 2 percent interest over eight years).

The Red Arrow Highway Union Pier Corridor Improvements Project will include a new streetscape in downtown Union Pier, a three-lane “road diet” set-up on Red Arrow Highway, the first section of a proposed linear park style non-motorized pathway and  more.

The Chikaming Township Board also OK’d a 2020 Road Department agreement (an update of a plan approved in February) for additional road projects in the township.

With matching funds of $55,779 from the Road Department figured into the total of $636,551, the township’s agreement amount totals $580,772.

Bunte said the list of 2020 road projects can be viewed on the Township’s website.

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