Construction detours East Lansing residents' lives

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By Max Lapthorne
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

The multimillion-dollar road construction project in East Lansing has been underway for about a month and the residents express displeasure with the project thus far. Beal Street resident Sonja Trierweiler has construction at both ends of her block and it is starting to frustrate her.

“If it weren’t surrounding my house it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but it’s really annoying,” said Trierweiler.

According to Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Karie Arend, the project has been being planned for several years, but many residents were unaware of it until it began. Alex Marsh lives on a section of Grand River where construction is occurring and is upset that she was not told about the project in advance.

Ramaun Pitts, who drives to work in East Lansing every day, would have liked to have known about the project beforehand as well.

“If something that big is happening they should have said something about it publicly,” Pitts said.

Maintaining pedestrian traffic is important, according to Arend, but Trierweiler has had trouble walking through the construction.

“It got the most frustrating for me when they started tearing up the median on Michigan Avenue . . . they set up barriers and I had to find ways to walk around it,” Trierweiler said.

Several residents said the pedestrian detour routes have been constantly changing, which makes it difficult to get to work or class on time. Gregovich has been forced to alter his morning routine to accommodate the delays.

“I’ve definitely had to leave earlier. It’s like 10 minutes earlier but 10 minutes is still 10 minutes,” Gregovich said.

Residents are also displeased with the signs used to signify detours.

“It seems like there are a lot of pedestrian signs that point you in arbitrary directions,” Trierweiler said.

The ineffectiveness of the detours has caused Harrison Street resident Julia Fellows to ignore them altogether.

“I tried to follow the sidewalk detour signs and I was going way out of my way, so then I just started walking through the construction site,” Fellows said.

Fellows said she has seen many other people ignoring the detour signs, which is extremely dangerous.

The lane closures have also been changing regularly, which has confused drivers. Pitts worries about the constant detour adjustments. Trierweiler said she also worries about driving in the construction zone.

“It’s actually kind of scary turning off of Beal Street onto Grand River Avenue … since they’re changing it all the time you don’t know if you’re driving in the right lane,” Trierweiler said.

Drivers are also concerned about the backup of traffic on both Grand River and Michigan Avenue. Residents aren’t happy with the traffic but most understand it is inevitable with a project this size.

“It’s really getting in my way right now, but I think in the end it will probably be a good thing,” Gregovich said.

To limit traffic, the project is being done in three phases. Arend said the phase that involves Grand River Avenue between Michigan Avenue and Bogue Street will begin on May 6, the day after Michigan State’s graduation. This was done to limit disruption since it is a high-traffic area.

If the project goes as scheduled it should be completed in October according to Arend. Although the project is for the benefit of East Lansing, so far residents have been less than thrilled with it.

“I just hate leaving the house to go to campus, because every day I have to pick a new route,” Fellows said.

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