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Governor Engler Opens US-27 Freeway

Contact:  John Truscott (517) 335-6397
Agency: Transportation

August 31, 1998

Project Finished One Year Ahead of Schedule

Governor John Engler today announced the opening of the new US-27 freeway between I-69 and St. Johns. The 21-mile-long freeway, including interchanges and ramps, is open a full year ahead of schedule, providing an improved, smoother and safer flow of traffic through Clinton County.

"This project was an ambitious undertaking that provides a valuable, efficient link from I-69 and US-127 to St. Johns and points north," Governor Engler said. "Fixing our roads also means ensuring we have a system that can adequately handle the demands placed on it for business and personal travel."

The US-27 project has been made possible through Governor Engler's continuing initiatives to secure additional state and federal funds and increase Michigan's investment in its transportation system.

Started in 1993, the project has been completed in three phases stretching from Price Road north to the existing US-27 freeway at Kinley Road north of St. Johns. The new freeway section includes four interchanges providing easy access to St. Johns and surrounding communities. The interchanges are at M-21, Round Lake Road, Price Road and Business US-27. It is estimated that the $102 million freeway will save commuters an hour of travel time each week.

"US-27 has proven its value to thousands of people who head north on holidays and weekends year-round and those who travel to and from Lansing on a daily basis," said State Transportation Director James DeSana. "The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) stood up and took notice. We saw how important this north-south corridor has become and made sure it remained useful and safe for Michigan travelers."

The US-27 project has become a showcase of the past and the future. During construction, crews discovered a 12,000-year-old mastodon head. MDOT immediately secured the site and called in department and academic specialists. This important archaeological find is now being preserved at the University of Michigan.

In addition, the freeway includes 12, 500-foot sections of test pavement. The pavements include various designs that are part of a nationwide research program to build cost-effective roads. The test sections will be monitored for their long-term performance.

"Michigan's transportation system is a driving force in our continued economic success," Engler said. "An investment in transportation is an investment in our future. I'm very pleased to keep another promise we made about fixing our roads. We've just completed a 21-mile-long chapter in Michigan's success story."

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