Grand Haven Township, Mich. — Construction crews in western Michigan have uncovered a centuries-old road beneath a roadbed.

Grand Haven Township Manager Bill Cargo said that an approximately 50-foot section of “corduroy road” was discovered Monday as crews installed a storm sewer during a reconstruction project. Initial sections were found July 18 and additional stretches continue to pop up since. More than 100 linear have been uncovered so far.

Cargo said that a corduroy road, or “log road,” is made by placing logs perpendicular to the direction of the route of low or swampy areas. The roads were built in the 1800s to help horse-drawn wagons and buggies get through muddy or soggy areas.

“But, it is ‘rough’ in the best of conditions, and was considered a hazard to horses due to shifting loose logs,” he said. “This section of corduroy road was probably installed during the logging phase of our area’s history, circa 1855.”

Community Development Director Stacey Fedewa says the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven is planning to use some of the historic roadway for a future exhibit.

Cargo says the construction that includes an extension of a sanitary sewer to the north remains on schedule. The work is part of the Grand Haven Township Downtown Development Authority’s TIF (tax increment financing) plan. The township has budgeted just over $1 million for the project, which takes place on 2,5000 linear feet of road in an area planned for further industrial development.

“We knew this kind of road was underneath 144th Avenue, but not 166th,” Fedewa said. “It was a pleasant surprise. We love finding our historical things here.”


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