Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Main Street tie-ups to be norm

December 1, 2005

No one likes to hop in the car only to get stuck in traffic.

But that's exactly the forecast for Lansing drivers and others who use Main Street beginning in spring 2006, when work on an $11.5 million road-widening project gets under way.

The Main Street System Enhancement project has been in the state's pipeline since 1999. The long-awaited project promises to ease congestion on Lansing's busiest street by widening Main from Connie Street to Ida Street to include a center turn lane, rebuilding the bridge over 7-Mile Creek, reconstructing medians from Gilman Road to Ida Street and constructing a "reverse frontage road" north of West Mary Street to West Kansas Avenue.

But getting those promised improvements completed is going to test the will and patience of drivers, pedestrians, businesses and workers.

Construction is slated to begin in late spring or early summer of 2006, and is projected to take 18 months. During much of that time, traffic on portions of Main Street will be relegated to one lane in each direction. That's a prescription for slow-moving traffic, especially at peak times of the day.

Last week, a traffic accident at the intersection of Main and Ida streets gave a preview of what's to come, and it wasn't pretty.

Emergency responders reduced Main Street to one northbound lane of traffic to attend to the accident victims, clean debris from the wreck and investigate. This backed up vehicles for blocks in both directions for the better part of an hour. Some of the impatient rush-hour motorists were heard berating emergency workers for the tie-up.

As Police Chief Steve Wayman observed, "To sit there and yell at the officers is not going to help at all."

Wayman, who's been around Lansing long enough to know, offers this sage advice: "People need to start considering now what alternate routes are going to be available."

Drivers who use Main Street would do well to heed the advice and remember it come spring and beyond.

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