Ann Arbor residents brace for Stadium bridges construction to affect traffic
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Michigan's annual football game against Ohio State takes on new significance this year. It marks the last Saturday traffic will flow freely on East Stadium Boulevard for more than a year.
Part of East Stadium Boulevard will be closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic due to construction beginning Monday through most of 2012.
Lisa Carolin | AnnArbor.com
South State Street will be closed from Monday through Dec. 13 in the area of the project while a bridge span there will be demolished and storm and sanitary sewers will be installed.
It's part of a $22.8 million project that includes replacing the bridge spans and adding tunnel extensions for pedestrians, sidewalks on both sides of the road and on-street bike lanes.
"I think it's going to affect the traffic patterns more than the neighborhood is prepared for," said Thom Johnson, who lives near the area of Hoover and Main Streets, which he predicts will receive a lot more traffic. "I'm just waiting for the outcry. It's going to be a surprise to lots of people how widespread the affects of this closure will be."
"It needs to be done," said Jack Hanna, who also lives near the construction area. "It's smart to wait to start until after the football season, but they should wait until after Christmas."
"As long as they do it right," said Jeff Janice, who also lives near the construction area. "We don't want what happened in Minneapolis (the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge that killed 13 people) to happen here, so it's worth all the months of inconvenience."
Don Ulisse says that the detours won't cause him to reduce his frequent trips through Ann Arbor.
"I'll just go a different way," he said.
Stadium will be reconstructed from Kipke Drive to South Industrial Highway and State Street will be reconstructed from Henry Street to Rose Avenue.
Maryann Griffith, whose dental office is located on Henry Street just off Stadium, is anticipating some changes during the construction.
"I suspect we'll have some late patients here but nothing dramatic," said Griffith. "People will have to go from Main Street to Eisenhower to Industrial to get to my office."
Griffith also offers her parking lot during home games during the Michigan football season, and today is no exception. The lot was full several hours before game time, and season ticket holders Bob and Joyce Galen from the Battle Creek area said they would continue to park in Griffith's lot next football season when construction is still underway.
"We're not going to not come to the football games," insisted Bob Galen. His wife agreed adding, "We can just come a little earlier."
Members of the Fishwick family, who come from Fenton, Brighton, and Westland, also use Griffith's lot.
"We'll just come earlier next fall," said Dave Fishwick. "It will be confusing walking to the Stadium with the detours but it should be easier getting out of town."
"Hallelujah!" said said his wife Maggie Fishwick. "They're finally going to fix this road. It's been torn up for a long time."
Griffith, who says that there have been lane closures in the area since she moved into the office in October 2008, is also looking forward to the repairs and improvements finally getting done.
"It will be nice to see those orange barrels gone in a year," she said.
The city has a website with detour maps and other information about the project at www.annarborbridges.org.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.