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Township development prompts city to study road

Alex Doty • Jul 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The Health Pointe development has pushed the city to pursue a study of traffic impacts on Robbins Road and at the Robbins/172nd Avenue intersection.

“This is something that definitely needs to be done,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “It’s all going to put a bigger load on that intersection.” 

Earlier this year, URS Corp. conducted a traffic impact study for the Health Pointe developers that noted that the “existing study area intersections have the capacity to serve the additional traffic generated by the proposed Spectrum Health facility.” The study’s claims were disputed by both Grand Haven Department of Public Works and Ottawa County Road Commission officials.

Despite the traffic report, Health Pointe officials offered to help fund traffic improvements to offset impacts from their development.

“Before we embark on actually making improvements, I think it’s better to get an engineer on board to look at things based on sound advice,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “We went to Abonmarche after they did the Beechtree study. I think their recommendations were well received.”

To get the detail the city needs, the $11,110 study will target the Robbins/Ferry and Robbins/Beechtree intersections.

“I’d hate to do it after it opens and we’ve got problems,” McGinnis said.

City officials note that even before learning of the Health Pointe development, improvements to the intersection were being considered.

“Robbins Road and 172nd is already overburdened,” McGinnis said. “We already feel there’s a poor level of service. To add this additional volume is troubling.”

In 2011, the city adopted with Grand Haven Township the joint Robbins Road Corridor Plan, which suggested improvements to traffic control and access on Robbins, as well as changes to lane alignments. In 2014-15, the city budgeted $75,000 for improvements to the traffic signal at Robbins and Ferry — an estimate based on installing pedestrian signals and adjusting lane configurations.

The changes suggested based on Health Pointe’s URS study — which city officials say are more appropriate in the face of the new medical center investment — increases the cost. City officials have estimated the cost of the traffic signal reconfiguration at Robbins Road at $275,000.

According to McGinnis, Health Pointe has agreed to fund up to $125,000 toward road improvements. The township will chip in $62,500. This would lead to the city share being as much as $87,500 — a cost that excludes any restriping of Robbins Road that might need to be done due to changes in lane configurations.

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