FHWA Administrator, Governor Announce PROTECT Grants in Kalamazoo

Published on April 11, 2024

Mayor Anderson, City Manager Jim Ritsema, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, WMU President Edward Montgomery, and FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt in Kalamazoo

On April 11, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt joined state and local officials in Kalamazoo to make a major funding announcement to improve transportation infrastructure in Michigan and other states nationwide. Administrator Bhatt announced the first round of grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program.

The grants are the first of their kind dedicated to transportation infrastructure resilience and will help states and local communities strengthen surface transportation systems and make them more resistant to natural hazards, including climate change, extreme weather events, flooding, sea-level rise, heat waves, and other disasters.

The City of Kalamazoo will receive nearly $38 million from the grant program to upgrade stormwater infrastructure and reduce the risk of flooding along the Arcadia Creek near downtown. The grant will help fund a multi-year project to redesign and increase the stormwater capacity of the creek.

When completed, about 60 acres of land and 70 homes and buildings will no longer be in a floodplain. It will also make the nearby infrastructure more resilient to increasingly frequent and severe storms. Work could start as early as this year near Westnedge Ave and will progress westward in phases until it reaches Oliver St in 2028. A similar project for Arcadia Creek through downtown was completed in the early 1990s.

Much of the creek in this area is underground, and the infrastructure it flows through is as old as the 1880s in some areas. The new creek design will uncover more sections of the creek- also known as “Daylighting”- and will help improve the quality of the water and the environment. It will be coordinated with the upcoming event center and two-way street projects to help create safer pedestrian connections through the area, too.

Kalamazoo’s grant is the largest of the 80 awards nationwide. The event center developers also contributed nearly $5.8 million to the project. 

The images below highlight the floodplain area that will be eliminated as a result of this project and a concept rendering of of what sections of the Creek could look like when the project is finished.    

Read more about the PROTECT grant announcement from the FHWA

Map of the Arcadia Creek Floodplain that will be elminated with support from PROTECT Grant(JPG, 129KB)  Concept rendering of a cross section of Arcadia Creek after stormwater project(JPG, 148KB)

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