Commercial-News, Penny Saver, & Sturgis Sentinel News

Road Comm. in progress of developing Safety Action Plan for roads; public input requested

By Robert Tomlinson
News Director

CENTREVILLE — The St. Joseph County Road Commission is looking to make streets in the county safer for the future.

The agency is currently working on what is called a Comprehensive Transportation Safety Action Plan (CTSAP), which would be a roadmap for the county to implement road safety projects throughout the county and would be done in conjunction with ongoing initiatives. The plan is being done with funding through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Program, in which the Road Commission received $250,000.

A resident input survey is being conducted by the Road Commission as part of the first phase of planning to help get feedback for the CTSAP, which is currently open to the public at The survey was opened late last month.

Road Commission Engineer Garrett Myland, who has been spearheading the action plan planning, said in an interview earlier this month the goal with the survey is to get feedback on what could be done to make roads safer.

“Our goal is to get an idea of the concerns that people in the county are having. The more data we get from the public will help us in the final draft of the plan. All that information is going to go in and it will help get us data for creating our final plan,” Myland said. “It gives another perspective of the county.”

The survey asks what people believe are major issues affecting the roadways in the county, and includes a map people can zoom in and click on to share locations of where said safety issues are located, and ask what makes them safety concerns. It also asks demographic questions to get a feel for the sample of the survey.

According to the project timeline for the agency’s SS4A project, there will be a second phase of public engagement in August and September, with a draft of the CTSAP expected to be presented in October before a third public engagement period in November and December. A final plan will be completed by January 2025 and be implemented beginning in February.

Myland says the deadline for the survey is June 30, and that he hopes to get plenty of responses from the community to help shape the plan.

“I’m hoping we get a huge response right away and able to get enough information,” Myland said. “It’s important, because our consultant can do analysis based on crash history, they have the roadway angles, they have the widths to do predictive analysis. But what they can’t see is what the general public sees every day. So, going into this plan and create it, we need as much information as possible. Being able to do predictive analysis, being able to pull up crash history, along with the public engagement, we’ll have three different public engagements in our plan for where we can focus.”

Myland said the Road Commission decided to go after the SS4A grant because they believe it will help the agency in the future when it comes to road safety and projects related to that.

“MDOT has a limit of how much money you can ask for, so if we have a safety project that we want to do and going through MDOT, we’ll be capped very early at the amount of money we can get, or we’d have to put extra Road Commission money up,” Myland said. “Having this plan helps us open up to a new level of grant applications. There is an SS4A grant ran through the Federal Highway Administration, and their grant application limits are much higher.”

One of the safety issues Myland says exists already is North River Road, which he says has been a problem since the U.S. 131 bypass around Constantine was built and was another reason why the Road Commission wanted to go for the SS4A program, with traffic and crashes “skyrocketing” on the road since that time. Getting a plan through SS4A for the road, he added, is a requirement to get money to address safety issues on that and other roads in the county.

“We know that a $600,000 grant from MDOT, if we get it, is not going to solve North River Road,” Myland said. “It is a multi-million dollar issue we have to tackle in the future. In order to apply for a project through SS4A, we need a plan that’s acceptable to the federal government to even apply. Part of this plan is going to help address what should be done on North River Road to help.”

Once the plan is in place, Myland said other municipalities could use it as well. He said representatives from the City of Three Rivers and City of Sturgis has been on board with the planning process, as well as a steering committee made up of representatives from cities, villages, industry and government regarding the plan.

“I don’t think it’ll help with just North River Road, I think it’ll help countywide. The cities are a part of it, the villages are a part of it, so hopefully they can take this plan as well, and maybe they can use it to get grant funding themselves,” Myland said.

Overall, Myland said the survey is the first step in the process, and hopes people will be able to fill it out.

“It’s a very short, easy survey to fill out, but before you fill it out, you might want to take some time and think about the different locations that you might have safety concerns with and jot them down,” Myland said. “The endgame is to try to make this county safer. My hope is by the end of this, we’ll have some sort of direction on where to go, especially in different locations.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or

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