GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Since early April, the 25,000 drivers who use Michigan Street and 15,000 who use the Ottawa Avenue ramps to I-196 have endured the snags and snarls that come with a major road project.
“During prime time, it’s a pain in the butt,” said one driver waiting to make a turn onto Michigan Street.
But there’s good news. The cause of the traffic headache is almost over.
“That’s cool with me,” said the driver. “Get ‘er done!”
The $1.7 million project — about half the cost was picked up by federal and state grants — replacing the rutted, pothole ridden stretch of Michigan Street between Ionia and Monroe avenues with smooth pavement and some aesthetics in the form of landscaping.
But it will also provide a less frustrating commute, especially for motorist using the I-196 ramps to Ottawa Avenue.
“What you will now see is there will be traffic signals. So when you’re coming off eastbound or westbound, there will be a signal that will allow the different movements to occur,” said Assistant City Engineer Rick DeVries.
The barrier that used to prevent drivers from making a left turn on to Michigan Street after exiting the eastbound Ottawa Avenue ramp has been removed.
“You had a lot of accidents here with people still trying to do that left turn when it wasn’t allowed,” said DeVries. “You will be able to make that movement from eastbound I-196 to the off-ramp to Michigan Street going eastbound. So that will make a big change in people’s driving patterns as well.”
There will still be an occasional traffic cone to dodge as they finish up some of the less essential work after next Friday.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated the project cost $3 million. We’ve since updated the story to show that it cost $1.7 million.