Multiple road projects at the same time in Battle Creek are causing drivers to adjust their routes in the city.
Construction crews have been replacing old water pipes with new ones on Columbia Avenue for more than two months. Battle Creek City Engineer Carl Fedders said the work should be done by Mon., Oct. 7, 2019. Before then, crews have to shut down part of Riverside Drive, from Golden Avenue to Territorial Road. Fedders said detours will take drivers from Columbia Avenue to Capital Avenue to Territorial Road.
“Well it’s tough. I mean, when you’re used to going one way all the time to work, and all of the sudden you got to go another way, it makes it tough. It makes you kind of have to change things around," said Battle Creek driver Fred Opich.
Opich is one of 19.000 drivers that cross the Capital Avenue bridge over Interstate 94 everyday for work.
For the next month or so, he'll have to take detours while Michigan Department of Transportation repairs the bridge. Posted detours will take drivers along I-94 to the Helmer Road exit 95 for those heading south on Capital Avenue, and Interstate 194 and Michigan 66 exit 98 for those heading north on Capital Avenue.
“I know what they got to do. I know what I got to do, and you just got to go along with it," Opich said.
Battle Creek city officials are asking for drivers' patience.
"Part of maintaining infrastructure is having to deal with construction," Fedders said. “We have to test the water main for bacteria, for pressure before we can put it in place, and sometimes that can look to customers and residents and drivers like inactivity, but that’s really what’s going on there.”
JIm Demarest, facilities manager of the Happy House Gift Shop on Columbia Avenue, said he's happy traffic is finally clear in front of his store.
“They seem to do a good job, until they got in front of our store, which really started crippling us," Demarest said. "We were completely shut down for a while. It just about killed us financially.”
Demarest said the city didn't put any signs to indicate alternate routes to get to his store.
While the city and MDOT complete the work, drivers should account for more time added to their trips.
“We got to go through a little rough times, but at the end, we’ll all appreciate what they’ve done," Opich said.
Starting Oct. 8, the city will place a lane shift on northbound Helmer Road South, north of Columbia Avenue, so the Battle Creek Sewer Department can begin rebuilding a storm structure, which is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 10.
According to MDOT, there will be single-lane closures on West Dickman Road for traffic signal modernization, advanced warning sign installation and concrete sidewalk upgrades between Avenue A in Springfield and Clark Road North in Battle Creek.
Construction for those projects is set to start Oct. 27, and expected completion in Wednesday, Nov. 27.