GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A major roadway into downtown Grand Rapids is getting a $1.3 million renovation.
Construction on Pearl Street, between Mt. Vernon Avenue and the Grand River is set to begin Monday. It’s a short stretch of road with some serious deficiencies.
“This intersection is experiencing what we call ASR, it is alkali-silica reaction,” said Assistant Grand Rapids City Engineer Jeff McCaul, showing the large cracks and craters on Pearl near the Ford Presidential Museum. “It attacks the joints and you can’t repair it.”
The problems are basically the result of a bad concrete recipe common in the 90s.
Newer processes in the mixing of concrete should take care of the problem this time around, according to McCaul.
The work is one challenge. Getting around it will be another.
Over 13-thousand vehicles a day use Pearl, some use the street for getting back and forth from downtown to the West Side.
Others use it to get to attractions like The Public Museum, The Ford Museum and Ah-Nab-Awen Park.
“It’s kind of one of the main gateways to downtown. Maybe the first thing visitors to the area see when they exit here on Pearl,” said McCaul.
Monday, crews will start tearing up Pearl at the Mt. Vernon Avenue end of the project.
Pearl Street will get new concrete pavement, drain and other underground work and sidewalk upgrades.
Motorist will still be able to use the on and off ramps to US-131.
“Phase one affects traffic headed to the west. When you exit, you will only be able to go east or continue north or south on Mt. Vernon,” said McCaul.
During phase two and three, motorists will only be able to go north or south from the freeway ramps.
The project will continue heading east in the remaining two phases.
Completion date is set for July 27, more than halfway through the summer tourist season.
“We have met with Experience Grand Rapids, and they were putting out some publications to people coming in to town to get to the hotels and convention center,” said McCaul.
A half million dollar federal grant and another $800 thousand from the city’s Vital Streets Fund will cover the cost of the project.