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US 31 work causing backups, headaches

Matt DeYoung • Sep 20, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Road work on all lanes of U.S. 31 on either side of the Grand Haven drawbridge is taking a toll on local drivers. 

Traffic has been backed up through Grand Haven for the past several days as Michigan Department of Transportation crews have conducted partial and full-depth deck repairs on the highway from Jackson Street north to VanWagoner Road.

The good news? Construction will halt over the weekend.

The bad news? Road work will resume early next week. 

“This is all weather pending, but the southbound closure is going to be taken down (Wednesday) afternoon and the northbound closure will be taken down (today),” said John Richard, a communication representative from MDOT. “That’s the good news. The bad news is they’ll go back in place Sunday evening at 8 p.m. until Friday (next week) for the northbound, and they’ll start back up on southbound on Tuesday morning.”

Richard described the work as “patching” problem spots along the road. In some spots, the patching is partial; in other places, crews need to go full-depth to make repairs. 

“That means they go all the way down to the beams,” Richard explained. “We’ve been in maintenance mode the past 10 years. ... If we had the money, we’d be doing a lot more full reconstruction as opposed to resurfacing — but, as it is, we continue to limp along.”

In response to traffic delays caused by the lane closures, the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety is asking drivers to have patience and, if possible, seek alternative routes. 

GHDPS posted the following note on its Facebook page Wednesday: “For morning and evening commutes, it is recommended that you leave early or seek an alternate route via M-231 or 68th Avenue. Expect long delays north and south of the U.S. 31 drawbridge at Grand Haven.”

Capt. Clint Holt of the Grand Haven department noted that one issue is north-south drivers blocking east-west intersections. 

“Public safety requests drivers to keep intersections clear so east-west traffic can cross the highway uninhibited,” he said. “We do have patrols out looking for those infractions.”

Blocking intersections is a ticketable offense, Holt noted.

For up-to-date information on this project and others, go to the list of statewide lane closures at www.michigan.gov/drive.

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