County/Kennecott ‘Woodland Road’ Decision Expected: October 18th

Over 200 people attended a public hearing hosted by the Marquette County Road Commission last Thursday (10/7).  The MCRC took public comment on Kennecott’s mining haul road proposal to be built “somewhere” between Triple A road and US 41, two miles either side of County Road FY.

Good testimony was given in opposition to the project ranging from wetland destruction to fugitive dust problems. The proposed location of the road is similar to the route that the EPA rejected back in May of this year. Kennecott has since then convinced Marquette County to develop the road instead.

The MCRC will announce its DECISION on whether to pursue the development of this new county road on Monday. Public comment will be taken.

MCRC Regular Board Meeting

October 18th – 6:30 pm

Ishpeming Township Hall

Public comment can be sent to the  Marquette County Road Commission via email, phone or mail:

1610 N. Second Street
Ishpeming, MI  49849
Phone: (906) 486-4491
Fax: (906) 486-4493

Commission Chairperson:  Darryll Sundberg,

Vice Chairperson: Russell Williams


Joseph Valente

David Hall

Neil Anderson

General Manager: Jim Iwaniki

Notes from Cynthia Pryor:

Jim Iwaniki from the commission indicated that this will be a long process and he has not yet determined a final route and there will be many alternatives.  I asked for a forum for public participation as this was a community discussion not a Kennecott discussion if the county was to take this project on.

Things that struck me:

1.  I cannot imagine why these guys would want the grief this obviously contentious (comments were 1/2 and 1/2) debate on their table every inch of the way.  Kennecott has virtually passed on all of their troubles of building, permitting and maintaining a haul road to the County of Marquette.

2.  How can a public commission be “hired” as a vendor for a private developer – one county official called it a “unique partnership”. Yes, very unique.  The road commission manager cited other roads they had developed for developers – the Lowe access road 1/16th mile and the Target 1/2 mile loop around.  This enters a whole new dimension.  Kennecott carrying the freight.  The Commission will carry the onus of selecting it, designing it, engineering it, permitting it, building it and maintaining it – but Kennecott will pay for it.  Will they be paying Commission employees also?  Conflict of Interest or what?

3. THE COST.  It was to be a $50 million dollar road when Kennecott was building it, partially paved – mostly gravel.  This road will be a fully paved roadway – the costs will be astronomical.  The costs of public funding for maintaining it will also be astronomical.  This road goes through some serious terrain – some of the highest in the region – where snowfall amounts are easily triple what the city of Marquette is used to.

Get your comments into the road commission – even if you are far away. Those close by – stick with it!  We thank you.

Cynthia Pryor

Read John Pepin’s article in the Mining Journal:

For in depth coverage of the road issue, click here

4 thoughts on “County/Kennecott ‘Woodland Road’ Decision Expected: October 18th

  1. There was a survey crew that surveyed our land for paving the Red Road for the mining company (north of Dead River Storage Basin just east of Dead River as it enters the basin). Has anyone heard anything else about that proposal? It basically depletes any value we have in the property due to noise. We go there to get away from the city noise and quietly fish.

  2. Yesterday I went to the MCRC’s website and checked their “Calendar of Events”

    There was nothing posted for Oct 7.

    I called 906-486-4491 and asked why? The woman at the other end (I should have gotten her name) said something like: Oh, dear; that was an oversight…I’ll see to it.

    Well, as of three minutes ago (11:26 am)
    today 10/6/2010 there us STILL nothing posted on their public website.

    NMU’s broadcasting system should be announcing something today.

    I haven’t checked today’s Mining Journal yet.

    Maybe we’ll have to revive the custom of a Town Crier?

    People MIGHT post it on their signs tomorrow in front of the P.O.

    Hope a lot of people show up.

  3. I’m sure this has been asked many times, but why doesn’t Kennecott build its processing plant at the mine site?

    If the State halted the building of the previously proposed road because the ore that Kennecott proposes to haul will interfere with wetlands, I would think that the State would have strong objections to any north/south road.

    In my travels in the area I’ve noticed wetlands at every turn.