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Railroad work on Ferris St. blindsides officials

Alexander Sinn • Oct 20, 2018 at 9:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Grand Haven Area Public Schools and local officials say they were caught off-guard by the announcement Thursday that a railroad construction project on Ferris Street near the high school’s entrances would result in the street being closed for the week of Oct. 29. 

The road will be completely closed to traffic, Michigan Shore Railroad told the Ottawa County Road Commission. They said the work should last about a week.

During the closure, the detour route is to take northbound U.S. 31 to westbound Hayes Street to southbound Lakeshore Drive back to eastbound Ferris. The entrances to the Grand Haven High School parking lots and bus loop are located on the north side of Ferris Street, nearest to the highway.

GHAPS Superintendent Andy Ingall said the district was not asked by the railroad company for consultation.

“They just made the decision and we learned about it in real time, just like everybody,” he said. “We’re very disappointed about that.”

The project is the reconstruction of the railroad grade crossing, which crosses Ferris Street just west of U.S. 31.

The school district is working with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office to convince Michigan Shore Railroad to reconsider the work for another time.

GHHS Principal Tracy Wilson said the school will inform parents of the plan through a weekly communication that is sent out on Sundays. 

Ingall said he hopes a significant time change will not impact the high school’s morning schedule.

“We know it’s going to be a nightmare,” he said. “We’re asking everybody to take your time and be safe and careful and work through it if we’re unable to make the railroad make a change.”

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