KENT COUNTY, Mich. — With temperatures in the 50’s this week, it sounds like spring is just around the corner; for drivers that means construction.
M-11 (28th Street) from Breton Road to I-96 in Kent County is getting a major makeover to the tune of $9.75 million.
“It’s going to be a headache for a while, but it’s going to be a brand new stretch of 28th Street,” smiles John Richard of Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). “(The road has) been taking a beating for years and years, and it’s time to go in there and reconstruct it.”
For roughly eight months, MDOT says the busy corridor running through Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Cascade Township will have major congestion.
The project’s start date was pushed back to March 18, but Richard says that will be mostly prep work and adding sidewalks. When the asphalt plants open, the resurfacing should begin around March 20, and that means lane closures – lots of them. Richard expects traffic to be significantly impacted starting late March or mid-April.
“There’s going to be at least one lane open in each direction at all times,” Richard explains.
According to MDOT, 28th Street from Breton Road to Patterson Avenue is getting a double layer of new blacktop that should last about 12 years.
The biggest travel headaches are expected in Cascade Township from Patterson Avenue to I-96. That stretch is scheduled to get a whole new road from the ground up, and a right turn lane onto northbound Patterson Ave. Richard says the township is paying for the new sidewalks and street lighting.
“(Drivers) should add more time to their commute or find another route,” suggests Richard.
But an alternative route potentially means less business for the dozens of stores along this stretch.
“There are plenty of pot holes,” says Sean Onasch, who manages one of three Sleep Doctor mattress stores on 28th Street in this area.
“Once they reduce (the road) down to a couple lanes, it’s going to be a nightmare.”
Onasch says the affected stores “are going to have special promotions during that time to help ease the inconvenience of the traffic.”
MDOT expects the traffic to start flowing around October 22, with the entire project wrapping up in mid-to-late November.
Richard says the last time this stretch of 28th Street was a construction zone was back in 2007, when Breton Road to the Beltline got a single layer of blacktop.
28th Street Project Public Hearing, hosted by MDOT
- Wednesday, March 6, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Cascade Public Library – Wisner Center, 2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE
- Grand Rapids, MI