Two-way street conversion complete in downtown Jackson

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) -- There's now a new way to get around downtown Jackson.

Road crews were busy all day Tuesday switching two busy roads from one way to two way traffic.

6 News has the latest on the conversion.

This change of direction is giving a view of Jackson that drivers haven't seen in more than 50 years.

"We're glad that it's finally here," said Jackson City Engineer Jon Dowling. "We've been working and planning on this for probably about four years now."

The Michigan Department of Transportation worked with the city of Jackson to convert Louis Glick Highway and Washington Avenue from one-way to two-way traffic.

After months of delays, the traffic cones and road blocks disappeared Tuesday afternoon, and we finally saw vehicles driving on both sides of these busy roads that circle downtown Jackson.

Dowling says they've been one-way since 1967.

"It was instituted to basically get away from the downtown, and loop it around. They did that in a number of cities," Dowling said.

City officials now hope this will provide a smoother drive across Jackson and create more access to the downtown area.

"We've tried to bring in business when it was a one-way, and nobody wants to touch it. Now that we're looking at making it two-way, they're looking at it and interested in moving into the city of Jackson," Dowling said.

The Jackson Police Department knows it won't be easy to undo decades of driving habits so they're adding more patrols to the area and urging caution.

Chief Elmer Hitt says they're on the look-out for wrong-way drivers and crashes.

"Officers will be, I'm sure, seeing violators at times, and making traffic stops," Hitt said.

Police want you to be extra alert going through the area as drivers adjust.

"Just pay attention to the changes and make sure you're aware of what those changes are and be extra careful," Hitt said.

The police department headquarters is on Washington Avenue in the middle of downtown Jackson.

Officers hope the two-way conversion can help them get to emergencies faster.

"It will help our officers get around a little easier, I think," Hitt said.

The city engineer says the next step is adding more green space to downtown, and making the area more pedestrian and bike friendly.

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