Delayed pandemic projects leads to busy construction season

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Construction season is in full swing, and this year is already busy because coronavirus caused some projects to get pushed back, piling on to the work needed to be done this summer.

Portions of major roads are now under construction in the city of Grand Rapids, including four major east and west roads: Hall Street, Franklin Avenue, Fulton Street and I-196.

“We are in the midst of a busy construction season,” said Tim Burkman with the city of Grand Rapids Engineering Department.

More than $33 million is going toward repairs on the five streets in Grand Rapids, with 40% of the funds coming from outside the city. This includes state and federal grant money, which is why so many of the projects are happening at the same time.

“Some of that depended on when the federal funds are available,” Burkman said about the start times.

Many of these projects began this week, catching drivers off guard. Drivers that News 8 spoke to were annoyed by the detoured drive but happy that work was getting done.

All but one of these projects will be taking months to complete, which is worrying some businesses.

“I feel like it could have been more streamlined. We do have some built-in customers outside our door now, we keep them fed,” said Andy Havemeier, who’s the general manager at Hall Street Bakery, where construction has become common in the area.

So, they are trying to stay positive and find the silver lining.

“Some people have come and brought their kids and enjoyed the show with construction equipment too, so dinner and a show,” Havemeier said.

Work on Franklin with wrap up this week. Ottawa Avenue near city hall is down to one lane until September, wrapping up just in time for ArtPrize.

Work on both Fulton and Hall will finish in October, and Market Street will be under construction until November. The I-196 project will go for the rest of the season, since additional work was added to the job.

The city posted the full construction schedule and detours online.

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