Police made 108 traffic stops in the village from May 1-8, as compared to 37 in the same time period last year, said Sgt. Jason Kik of the Sheriff’s Office. In April, officers made 205 traffic stops, compared to 158 in April 2018. Kik said he could not separate out the construction area in those statistics.
Traffic has been backing up on eastbound M-104 on the west end of the village since a project to install a new sewer line under the Grand River reached its north-side connection part and caused a portion of Exchange Street to be closed starting April 22. It is expected to continue until the end of June.
With the initial closure of Exchange, between Cutler and Division streets, motorists were able to use Liberty Street as a bypass, and use the traffic light on Jackson Street to cut back over the highway to Exchange Street.
Beginning Tuesday, the section of Exchange Street from Jackson Street east to Elm Street was closed for water main work, storm sewer upgrades, sewer relining and road resurfacing. That’s causing even more motorists to choose the alternate route on the north side of the village, leading to two situations in which tickets are being issued, Kik said.
One problem is that people turning left onto Savidge Court are not stopping for the stop sign near Barrett Boat Works at Savidge Street, Kik said. An additional, temporary stop sign has been placed in that area.
Another issue is people speeding on Liberty Street.
“That is a residential area. They need to watch their speed,” Kik said.
A speed trailer was placed on Liberty Street on Tuesday.
Kik noted that it is legal for motorists to take that route to avoid traffic on M-104, but they still need to obey the traffic laws. Police are not giving warnings — they are writing tickets.
On the south side of the village, police are ticketing motorists for going through the construction zone. The only motorists allowed through there are the residents and anyone going to those businesses that are not accessible from any other direction.
“We contacted the schools and they sent out notices to parents to have them stay out of the construction zone,” Kik said.
The sergeant noted that people’s excuses are varied, but it is very clear that the road is closed.
“Construction workers ought to be able to work without being worried about getting hit,” Kik said. “Motorists passing through a construction area also slow down the progress.”
Anyone ticketed for disregarding a stop sign or traffic signal will pay a $125 fine. The same thing goes for ignoring a “road closed” sign, but the fine doubles if you go through a construction zone. Violations start at $115 for going 10 mph over the speed limit.
“People should give themselves plenty of time to get to where they are going,” Kik said. “We encourage people to have patience and be courteous.”
Kik said police are doing what they can to keep the traffic moving.
“(Tuesday), we changed the light at Jackson and Savidge to extend the green cycle for Savidge,” he said. “We let it run for 6-7 minutes.”
Officers started doing the same thing at the Lake Avenue light on Wednesday.
Kik said they would continue to do that during busy times as resources allow.
He also encourages motorists coming east across the M-104 bridge to get over into the right lane right away, as speeding up to the merge area just slows everyone else down.
“Our goal is to get everyone to where they need to be in a safe manner,” Kik said.