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Survey Looks at Moving Freight in Northern Michigan

August 25, 2020

Challenges and opportunities related to moving freight in Northwest Lower Michigan provided the focus for a recently completed survey of businesses in the region. The Northwest Michigan Freight Survey was conducted as part of the Traverse Transportation Coordinating Initiative (TTCI) and Networks Northwest work to prepare for the transition to a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO); a federally mandated and funded transportation policy-making organization. The Northwest Michigan Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Northwest Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assisted with the survey.

Nearly 30 businesses responded to the survey. They said the biggest challenges with the movement of freight in the region included geographical location, road congestion, and transportation costs. New/expanded roads, road/bridge improvements, and truck parking were listed as the top current opportunities to improve freight movement.

Regulation changes were mentioned as the biggest risk to the future of freight, followed by changes to energy sources and costs, and changes in business dynamics (e-commerce, etc.). The survey also helped identify potential projects for consideration within the impending MPO’s boundaries such as putting a roundabout on Hammond Road at Townline Road, repaving Cherry Bend Road, and looking at better East-West routes across town.

The information gathered in the survey will be used to develop a Freight Plan which will be available for review sometime in September.

Our Township greatly benefits from Network Northwest's experience, depth of knowledge and understanding. Because they work with so many diverse communities in our ten-county region they understand the local land-use issues and are already working on solutions by the time we realize we need some help.
- Susan Odom, Chair, Suttons Bay Township Planning Commission