Road construction starts on Michigan Avenue and Grand River

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By Max Lapthorne
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

The multi-million dollar road project in the heart of East Lansing is underway. Traffic is down to one lane going each direction from the west city limits to Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue. According to Michigan Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Karie Arend the project will be broken into several parts.

“It’s being done in phases. The first section is in between Coolidge Road and Michigan Avenue,” said Arend. “The downtown section won’t be done until summer.”

According to Todd Sneathen, director of the East Lansing Public Works Department, the prime contractor for the project is Michigan Paving and Materials.

Despite being done in phases, the construction has caused traffic buildup, especially around rush hour. Chris Hooks, a delivery driver for Goomba’s Pizza on Grand River Avenue, expressed concern with the traffic.

“Around 5 p.m. everything gets backed up all the way to Hagadorn, and it gets really impossible to penetrate,” said Hooks.

The state is aware of these concerns regarding traffic and Arend said maintaining traffic and pedestrian access is one of the main concerns with the project.

Sneathen said the roads had not been rebuilt since 1995. He also said the state has been preparing for this project for three years.

Arend said the schedule is aggressive but she does not foresee major delays.

Hooks said the state is doing a good job with the construction, but she did not like that parts of the road that are not being worked on are blocked off. Arend said that it is a safety issue.

“If there is an area that is unsafe for pedestrians, it will be blocked off,” Arend said.

The project is scheduled to finish in October. When asked about delays Sneathen was optimistic.

“No concerns,” Sneathen said.

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