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First phase of US-31/M-72 project expected to be completed Friday

TRAVERSE CITY — Weather and work progress permitting, the Michigan Department of Transportation and prime contractor Team Elmers expect to complete the first phase of the $24.7 million US-31/M-72 (Front Street and Grandview Parkway) project in Traverse City this Friday.

Based on current progress and the weather forecast, MDOT expects to complete the underground utility work, new sidewalks, and paving of the eastbound lanes of US-31 from Front Street to Peninsula Drive, all lanes from Gilbert Street to Garfield Avenue, and all lanes on M-37 (Garfield Avenue) north of US-31 on Friday, May 10.

Completion of this phase is more than a week early, allowing Team Elmers to begin work on Phase 2: underground utilities, sidewalks, and new pavement on the westbound lanes of US-31 between Front Street and Peninsula Drive.

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”We were able to make an advanced start due to spring’s early arrival, and Team Elmers has done a great job tackling the most complex portion of this project so quickly,” said MDOT Traverse City Transportation Service Center Construction Engineer Jim Johnson. “Early completion of Phase 1 will give us more time to complete Phase 2 by June 27, before the National Cherry Festival.”

When Phase 1 is completed, MDOT will remove the north/south detour for M-37 (Garfield Avenue) traffic, the temporary traffic signal at the US-31/Milliken Drive intersection will be deactivated, the stop signs at the Eastern Avenue/Milliken Drive intersection will be removed, and the signal timing at the US-31/Garfield Avenue intersection will be adjusted for the new traffic pattern.

Eastbound US-31 traffic will remain on US-31, using the new eastbound lanes. Westbound US-31 traffic will remain detoured on Eighth Street and Railroad Avenue. The US-31/Peninsula Drive intersection will be closed to through-traffic while crews upgrade the storm sewer in the area and rebuild the intersection.

During Phase 2, pedestrians will be detoured across Front Street and Grandview Parkway at the Garfield Avenue and Park Street signalized crossings while the Murchie Bridge underpass is closed for repairs. TART Trail bicyclists will be detoured between Railroad Avenue and Park Street along State Street. The sidewalk along the north side of US-31 (Front Street) between Peninsula Drive and Front Street will be closed while it is rebuilt.Commercial US-31 through-traffic will remain detoured on 3 Mile Road and South Airport Road for the duration of the project.More information on the project schedule, as well as detour route maps for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, are available on the US-31/M-72 project website.

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In addition to rebuilding the roadway, this project will include replacing concrete curb and gutter, upgrading sidewalk and ramps, improving storm sewer, and repairing the Murchie Bridge over the Boardman River. The City of Traverse City also is investing $3.5 million to replace underground water and wastewater utilities as part of the contract. Based on economic modeling, this investment is expected to directly and indirectly support 351 jobs.

The project is planned to be completed in two segments: Segment 1 (Garfield Avenue to Front Street) from March to the end of June, and Segment 2 (Front Street to Division Street) from July 8 to late November, with a pause in work for the National Cherry Festival. Work during Segment 1 will require detours on city streets; work on Segment 2 will be completed part-width, with one lane open in each direction.

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