GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the summer months approach, people heading to downtown Grand Rapids can expect to run into detours as the city resumed a construction project it started last year.
Workers began pavement renewal near the intersection of Market Avenue and Fulton Street on Monday. There they plan to replace a water main and remove and replace a large trunk line sewer, among other improvements.
“This is the season for construction and we do have projects happening around town,” said Grand Rapids city engineer Tim Burkman.
Burkman said the current trunk line sewer, which is 11 feet wide and 13 feet tall, will be replaced by a new sewer 8 feet in diameter. It will go 20 feet underground.
Workers will also be upgrading roads as a part of the nearly $20 million project. The city said the project will allow developers to add new buildings and structures in the area.
“This is the result of a public-private partnership. There was a (memorandum of understanding) that was developed in late 2020 between the city, the convention arena authority and also the private entities that owned the properties north of 131 along the westside of Market Avenue,” said Burkman.
The construction means Market Avenue will be closed south of Fulton Street. The city said Market Street traffic will be re-routed to Wealthy Street, Division Avenue and Pearl Street. Fulton Street traffic will use Division Avenue, Lake Michigan Drive/Pearl Street and Seward Avenue to get around.
Drivers will still be able to use the US-131 ramp at Cherry and Oakes streets.
The closures are coming at a time when nearby event venues are expecting one of the busiest seasons yet following two years of the pandemic.
“There’s been so much pinned up demand for tickets but also the supply has been pinned up. You’ve got these artists that want to be out touring so they’ve all hit the road,” said Van Andel Arena General Manager Rich Mackeigan. “The crowds are back, happy and hungry for more live entertainment, and we’re delighted for that.”
Mackeigan said they’re already working with the city to make sure event goers are aware of closures and detours as they head downtown over the next couple of months. He said detour warnings will be posted on their website and communicated to travelers. He said the plan they have in place should make things manageable.
“This is construction because of progress, and I strongly encourage my staff to deal with it the best we can,” Mackeigan said.
The project is set to finish in August.