GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A major downtown Grand Rapids construction project will take longer than expected.
The Fulton Street and Market Avenue project closed the busy downtown intersection in March. City officials initially expected the new sewer line and pavement would be complete by August, but News 8 has learned it is projected to take until early November.
“This is a very complex project,” Grand Rapids City Engineer Tim Burkman said. “Market and Fulton in particular has one of the busiest utility corridors in the city and we’re trying to install an 8-foot diameter pipe 20 feet in the ground amidst all of those utilities.”
Burkman said crews thought they could work around large utility boxes while replacing an old trunk line sewer. But construction proved too difficult and the boxes had to be removed.
“Fiber-optic lines, utility cables, some of those lines are the city’s, some are AT&T and some are other private utility companies,” he said. “We needed to relocate that vault or basically take it out to be able to get to the depth that we needed.”
Once complete, the $20 million project will allow for new developments like the proposed outdoor amphitheater.
Construction noise will continue to affect nearby venues, including the soon-to-be reopened B.O.B. and the delay will likely cause traffic headaches for the start of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Gold hockey and basketball seasons and ArtPrize. ArtPrize says it is prepared for the disruption.
“One of the blessings of ArtPrize is that it forces everyone to be really, really nimble,” ArtPrize Executive Director Craig Searer said. “We were anticipating this (intersection) potentially not being open… We had some foresight and just said, you know, let’s just circumvent this and make sure that visitors have the appropriate pathways.”
Searer said ArtPrize venues will have to adapt to the ongoing growth of the city. The 18-day competition, which starts Sept. 16, expects to draw more than 500,000 visitors to Grand Rapids.