Between 21-23 Jun 1983, a team of archaeologists from the Department of Anthropology, W~stern Michigan University conducted a Phase I site_ location survey along M-44 (East Belt Line) from 7 Mile Road in Plainfield Township to I-96 in Grand Rapids Township, Kent County, Michigan. Systematic and intensive on-site evaluation of the project area was accomplished by means of a combination of surface reconnaissance and shovel testing procedures.
The data available to the team prior to the initiation of fieldwork indicated that six archaeological sites occurred in the general area of the project, with perhaps three of these sites lying, at least in part, within the expanded M-44 right-of-way. During the course of fieldwork, surveyors were unable to confirm any of these sites. And in the case of two of them the lack of confirmation reflects denial on the part of property owners to grant us permission to evaluate the reported site area.
While failure to gain access to a .number of properties along the route for purposes of confirming recorded sites has affected the survey team's ability to achieve continuous coverage, for the project as a whole, and Including the location of one prehistoric site recorded during the Phase I survey, surveyor observations suggest that the proposed zone of impact, especially in that portion of the project having the most potential with respect to archaeological resources, has already been dramatically altered/disturbed through a combination of recent land uses.
In the opinion of the author, the proposed MOOT road widening activities, to be confined to an area .36 m wide on either side of the highway, will not adversely impact significant archaeological resources.