JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s something that drivers in Jackson have been looking forward to all year, traffic on Michigan Avenue going in both directions.
6 News has the latest on this massive construction project and how businesses are reacting.
Traffic moving in both directions on Michigan Avenue is an early Christmas present for Caffe Lilla.
“We are very excited about it. We are hoping it will bring back some of the business that we’ve lost,” said Heidi Mills, owner of Caffe Lilla.
This major artery on the west side of Jackson has been down to only one lane since the Michigan Department of Transportation started a big reconstruction project in May.
Businesses say the construction has made it difficult for customers to get to them.
“We’re looking probably when all is said and done at a 60 to 70 percent loss,” Mills said.
MDOT says weather delays and having to remove decades of infrastructure put the $18 million project two weeks behind schedule.
They hope those challenges are now in the rearview mirror.
“This is a good milestone for everybody involved, and I know the public is going to appreciate being able to traverse Michigan Avenue without having to take any detours,” said Samuel Sorensen, a construction engineer for MDOT.
But don’t expect orange barrels to completely disappear from view.
Road work will continue on Michigan and throughout the downtown area this winter and spring.
“On Michigan Avenue we have to finish up miscellaneous signal work. And do some sidewalk and slope restoration and landscaping,” Sorensen said.
A big part of the project is converting Louis Glick Highway and Washington Avenue from one way to two-way traffic.
MDOT says construction delays are pushing back that conversion until next month.
“Our goal is to make Jackson a place people want to come. And by completing the work through the city, it will help make it a place people do want to come to,” Sorensen said.
Now that it’s smooth sailing on Michigan Avenue, businesses are looking forward to a productive 2018.
“We’re just ready, we’re very ready,” Mills said.