After the more-publicized M-231 highway project connecting Crockery and Robinson townships is done, the state agency wants to widen U.S. 31 through a portion of Grand Haven, which has traffic jams for short "rush hours" each day.
“I’d hate to see them decimate our boulevard to accommodate 1-2 hours of traffic per week,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.
Based on preliminary plans proposed by state transit officials, each side of Beacon Boulevard between Jackson Street and Washington Avenue would gain an additional travel lane.
The boulevard's median would be reduced in width to accommodate the third lane each way. In its place would likely be a smaller median, or a concrete divider or median.
McGinnis noted that the “stable, mature trees" in the project's path would likely be removed if the plan proceeds.
City officials are hopeful that the state will take another look at the need for expanding the highway in Grand Haven before tearing up the road.
“Don’t make this a done deal until after the bypass project,” McGinnis said. “We don’t want to change a community profile based on a couple of hours per week.”
To make their message clear, city officials have sent resolutions to the state that the city generally supports a U.S. 31 construction project with the understanding that the transportation agency does not plan to construct improvements limiting car and pedestrian access to and across the highway. This includes the addition of new lanes and resulting in near elimination of the boulevard between Washington Avenue and Jackson Street.
Instead, the city would like to wait until all improvements on the 120th Avenue corridor are operational — including a new bridge over the Grand River and a connecting bypass from M-45 to 1-96 — and the need for additional access restrictions in Grand Haven is demonstrated.
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