Hansen: transportation grants will help keep jobs in area

LANSING – Transportation grants recently awarded in Muskegon County will help bring new jobs to the area while retaining current workers, said Sen. Goeff Hansen.

To accommodate the impact of a proposed development by fortu Powercell, Inc., the Muskegon County Road Commission will reconstruct Giles Road from Whitehall Road to M-120, adding passing flares and additional turn lanes at several intersections.

Fortu PowerCell proposes constructing an integrated battery cell manufacturing facility on Whitehall Road in Muskegon Township.  The facility will be located on approximately 400 acres owned by Bayer CropScience.

Hansen said the proposed facility would be the first high-volume manufacturing plant for battery cells using newly-developed fortu technology.  It will represent an investment of $200 million to the area and may employ 300 people when completed.

“This sets the stage for enormous economic potential in our region’s future,” said Hansen, R-Hart.

The western entrance to the proposed development is located on Whitehall Road between Giles and River roads.  The roadway at the proposed entrance is currently a two-way, two-lane road with no accommodation for the additional traffic that will be associated with the development.  The road commission will add a passing flare and right-turn lane at the new entrance to the development along Whitehall Road.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.029 million, with a $538,000 grant and a match of $490,200 by the road commission, Bayer/fortu and federal surface transportation funds.

Another transportation grant of $139,003 would be used to resurface Temple Street in Muskegon from Young Avenue to Laketon Avenue.  This improvement would allow suppliers and shippers associated with the Brunswick Corp. the ability to access the company’s site year-round using fully loaded trucks.

Brunswick is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of recreation products.  Brunswick Bowling Products Division, located on Temple Street, specializes in all types of bowling equipment and accessories.

“Brunswick and its suppliers have been concerned about the condition of Temple Street for some time,” Hansen said.  “By making these improvements, 175 jobs at Brunswick are poised to remain in Michigan.”

The total cost of the project is an estimated $210,003, with the $139,003 grant and a $71,000 match from the city of Muskegon.