28th Street Reconstruction Scheduled April 21-Aug. 1

March 17, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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WYOMING — Major reconstruction this spring and summer of the bottleneck stretch of 28th Street just east of U.S. 131 has business owners worried, especially those located in the construction zone between Buchanan and Division. But the Michigan Department of Transportation is trying to make it as painless as possible, as was evident at a meeting last week.

"MDOT has taken this pretty seriously. They're very concerned about causing the least amount of disruption to the businesses — as bad as business is now, these days," said Doug Kochneff after the meeting. He is the chairman of the Wyoming Downtown Development Authority and also has a business on 28th Street, Action Tire Center, which is about a half-mile west of the construction zone.

Construction is scheduled to begin April 21 on 28th Street, which is also state highway M-11. During construction, at least one lane in each direction will be open. The primary construction of the road is targeted for completion by Aug. 1. Four-lane traffic flow should resume then, although peripheral construction on the sides of 28th Street will still be under way throughout the month of August.

The construction zone is slightly more than one-half mile in length, starting about 100 yards east of U.S. 131 and ending about 100 yards east of South Division Avenue. MDOT representative Art Green said left turns will be restricted at various times at the two intersections in that stretch, at Buchanan and Division avenues. But left turns will not be prohibited at both intersections simultaneously, thus providing a detour for left-turning traffic.

MDOT representatives said MDOT will send e-mail updates to the public on each change in traffic routing during the construction. People can sign up online for e-mail notifications via the MDOT Web site (www.michigan.gov/MDOT), but those construction updates will cover all highway reconstruction in the region, not just the 28th Street project.

Dawn Garner, an MDOT communications representative, said any person who wants updates pertaining only to the 28th Street project should e-mail her at garnerda@michigan.gov, and she will make sure they receive only the notices specific to 28th Street.

A representative of the Wyoming/Kentwood Chamber of Commerce asked MDOT officials if the construction was going to impede the Chamber's fourth annual 28th Street Metro Cruise. Green said 28th Street should be fully open to traffic by the time of the Metro Cruise Aug. 22-23. He said the contractor will be working hard to meet the "open to traffic" deadline of Aug. 1, in order to get the $130,000 incentive offered by the state.

"It won't look pretty but all traffic should be open by Aug. 1," said Green.

Art Maleport, owner of Friends Restaurant on 28th Street in the construction zone, said the Metro Cruise is only a two-day event, "but we have to survive this thing for three months."

MDOT officials assured Maleport that construction crews would be working 12 hours a day, six days a week, to finish the job as soon as possible.

A representative from the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel on 28th Street near U.S. 131 and one from a company with trucks that travel the targeted construction zone every day were also at the meeting.

The construction will hinder access to the hotel at times, said Jessica Vaglica, director of sales at the Howard Johnson, but she seemed reconciled to it.

"It's going to hurt a little bit, but we need a face lift in that area," Vaglica told the Business Journal.

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