The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to place hundreds of bright white reflectors along a popular road in the Traverse City region in an effort to prevent crashes caused by drivers veering out of their lane.
The $300,000 project includes placing more than 1,300 roadside reflectors along 76 miles (122 kilometers) of M-22, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported . A stretch of the road from Manistee to Empire Village will get the reflectors this year, as will a section from Leland Township to Suttons Bay.
Department figures show that 75 percent of the area’s fatal crashes are caused by drivers leaving their lane, said Transportation Department spokesman James Lake.
“That’s the specific type of crash that we’re hoping to curb,” Lake said. “It’s part of our Toward Zero Deaths plan for northern Michigan.”
The reflectors are placed on 4-foot (1.2-meter) posts about 300 feet (91 meters) apart, though they’re spaced more closely together on curved areas of the road.
Some area residents expressed concerns about the project.
Joan TenBrock, who lives along M-22 in Leelanau Township, said too many reflectors can be confusing and dangerous.
“After a while there’s so many things shining along the roadsides that, especially when you get older, you can’t tell where the roads are,” she said.
TenBrock said she’s also concerned that the placement of the reflectors will prevent drivers from being able to safely pull off of the road.
But Dan Wagner, managing director of the Leelanau County Road Commission, said the reflectors are a cost-effective tool to keep drivers on the road.
The Transportation Department is financing the project, so local road commissions won’t be contributing funds, he said.
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