‘A lot of traffic to detour’: US-131 to close for repairs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A major construction project will soon begin on US-131 in the Grand Rapids area, impacting thousands of drivers.

If US-131 through Grand Rapids feels busy, you’re not mistaken.

“It’s the busiest expressway in Michigan outside of Detroit,” said John Richard, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

This makes upkeep on the expressway crucial.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is set to spend over $6 million dollars to rehab the north and southbound US-131 bridges over Plaster Creek and complete concrete joint repairs on US-131 through downtown.

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The pavement and bridges were first installed decades ago.

“If you look down and see that big polished round stone aggregate, that’s the original pavement from the 50’s. So it’s served us well but we’ve got to give it some TLC,” Richard said.

The fixes will come with some inconvenience.

On March 31, Easter Sunday, northbound US-131 will completely close at 28th Street for about a month as work begins. Lane closures will begin near 44th Street to prepare drivers to exit.

A single lane will remain open from Burton Street through the downtown area so that some traffic can pass through.

After northbound work is completed, southbound US-131 at Burton will then close for about a month.

US-131 from 28th Street to Pearl Street will have lane closures for the entirety of the project due to joint repairs.

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Detours will be M-6, I-196, and I-96.

“120,000 vehicles every single day and Grand Rapids continues to grow. So, that’s a lot of traffic to detour,” Richard said. “There cant be any traffic on that bridge while they’re doing that rehab work.”

Richard said the entire stretch of US-131 through Grand Rapids needs to be modernized, but current funding doesn’t necessarily allow for that.

“Our annual budget for this 13-county region is about $100 million, and to fix this one stretch of US-131 is going to cost $600 million.”

Until more funding can be figured out, Richard said repairs must move forward as they are now.

“We’ve got to limp along and save US-131 while we can,” Richard said.

MDOT will work with local partners to improve traffic flow in areas where possible.

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