Drivers not satisfied with Cottonwood Dr. changes


GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Cottonwood Drive in Jenison reopened fully this week, but many residents say that despite nearly two years of construction, the intersection with Baldwin Street isn’t any better.

Road commission officials announced the reopening of Cottonwood between Bauer Road and Baldwin Street Wednesday, though locals noticed lanes open over the weekend.

The road project was scheduled to be finished last October but was hindered by a labor dispute and then winter weather. Work finally resumed in April.

The project’s goal was to resurface the road, expand it and improve traffic flow. The road now has five lanes with two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes and a center left-turn lane. The project also included improvements to the intersection of Baldwin and Bauer.

Some locals like lifelong Georgetown Township resident Jill Sytsma say the project missed its mark, especially at the intersection of Cottonwood and Baldwin.

“All of a sudden, they just reopened it. It took them, shoot, almost two years to do it. That’s ridiculous,” Sytsma said. “To pave it and repave it and then do this to it? You fix stuff up like this, the way it is, the tighter the turn, the closer you are and it’s just more of a pain the way they did it.”

Ottawa County Road Commission spokesperson Alex Doty acknowledged the public’s concern but said site limitations restricted the project’s effectiveness.

“We’ve heard some people say that it looks kind of tight, they’re concerned about that,” Doty said. “I know that when we designed this, we looked at the parcel next to it and made the best decisions that we could and design choices given space limitations.”

The parcel was once home to DeWitts’ Auto Service. The county bought the land and helped move the shop to improve and widen Cottonwood Drive.

“When we were getting started on this project, it was realized that that parcel was needed for utility easements and widening the road,” Doty said. “Once it was widened out and we had that in place, there really wasn’t much more that could be done with the site.”

Doty said the commission wasn’t able to expand much further without creating other problems that might impede traffic more.

“Had we gone into that land much further, we could have misaligned the intersection and moved traffic too close to other businesses along  Baldwin,” Doty said. “There’s always grass is greener on the other side, but you’ve got to look at what kind of factors are there that might result from something else being done.”

Doty acknowledged the plot of land where DeWitts’ once stood may look unused, but the right turn is wider and Georgetown Township has plans to use the land in the future.

“I’m proud of the finished product,” Doty said. “We were able to design something that accommodated a wider road and a bigger intersection … There might be some issues in play now but I think for the most part, we’re happy with how things turned out.”

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