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Michigan’s highway roadsides soon will get a spring cleaning. Almost 3,200 volunteer groups across the state will pick up litter along more than 7,200 miles of state highway from April 14th to 22nd. It’s the first of three pickups this year for the Michigan Department of Transportation adopt-a-highway program, which began in 1990. M-DOT says in 2011, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers collected more than 75,000 bags of trash and saved taxpayers one-point-five million dollars in cleanup costs. The other two pickups are scheduled for July 14th to 22nd and September 22nd to 30th.
Authorities in the Western U.P. report the arrest of one person this weekend in connection with several vehicle thefts. The Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department arrested a 19-year-old Wakefield man early Saturday morning. He was charged with stealing three vehicles and abandoning them and is currently being held at the Gogebic County Jail on over $16,000 cash bond. The man’s name is being withheld pending formal arraignment and he is also facing a set of similar charges in Iron County, Wisconsin.
The Michigan Department of Transportation is starting a major road project today in Marquette County. M-DOT will be reconstructing US-41/M-28 from the Carp River in Marquette to Bayou Street in Harvey, and resurfacing the highway from Bayou Street to the 41-28 intersection. This project also will include construction of a multi-use pathway along Lake Superior. The project will require lane closures with traffic shifts, but M-DOT officials say one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction at all times. Full-time lane closures will begin April 23-rd. Temporary turn lanes will be maintained at driveways and roadway approaches, and a temporary traffic signal will also be installed at the Marquette Branch Prison entrance. The project is expected to be completed in late October.
While it’s not an organized effort, police on routine patrols in Michigan will be watching out for distracted drivers throughout the month of April, as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The concern follows a recent survey where more than 80-percent of Michigan motorists felt drivers who talk on cell phones are more likely to be involved in a traffic crash…and that number jumps to 96-percent when asked about those who text or e-mail behind the wheel. Lynn Sutfin, of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, says State Police are using the media to get the message across that talking, texting or e-mailing behind the wheel is dangerous. Michigan crash data from 2010 found that nearly four-thousand crashes listed the driver condition as “distracted”… and cell phone use was indicated in 881 of those crashes.
As the state gets ready for another tourism season, Michigan tourism and tourism promotion seems to be taking major steps forward. A new study by the group “Longwoods International” says that last summer’s Pure Michigan ad campaign brought in a record number of out of state visitors to Michigan. And this year the promotions are continuing, with recent announcements regarding a Pure Michigan ad at Comerica Park in Detroit, and a major deal with Coca Cola. George Zimmerman, vice president of Travel Michigan, says there’s still more potential for more to visit Michigan, so they’re not letting up on their promotional effort. As to why so much is spent on out-of-state advertising, Zimmerman says (quote) “people who live farther away, tend to stay longer and spend more.”