Road, utility work leads to closures in Genesee County - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Road, utility work leads to closures in Genesee County

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GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) - (08/19/14) - Just as fast as one road construction project ends across Mid-Michigan, another begins.
    
From heavy commercial vehicles to extreme weather, Mid-Michigan roads take a beating season after season.

For one busy road in Genesee County, the orange barrels are out for something you might not expect.

It's not repaving, but utility work that's snarling traffic - and that will be the case for weeks to come.

Consumers Energy is laying natural gas lines alongside Center Road. Backhoes and other digging equipment have a lot of trench work to do before the pipes go into the ground.

That means long stretches of orange barrels, giving drivers and business owners in the area a bit of indigestion. Traffic gets backed up at busy intersections, especially around lunch and dinner time.

"Well, its frustrating. People are just completely avoiding Center Road. They go to Belsay. They go to Dort Highway and we lose business because of it. That's just the way it is," said Tim Walli, of Walli's Restaurant and Firkin & Fox.

It's not just the Center Road construction that's hurting local businesses. Even bridges are not immune to the constant pounding of traffic, forcing road crews to break out another round of barriers and cones.

One of Genesee County's busiest highways is the latest to see a string of orange barrels between I-475 and M-15.

Flint resident Anthony Morris has experienced this first-hand recently.

"I got stuck on I-69 yesterday. It was free-flowing and then, wait a minute, Center Road exit is closed, down to one lane. People don't want to let you over. It's a headache. I just try to avoid it altogether," he said.

In order to prepare for bridgework on I-69 over Dort Highway, and other repairs down to Center Road, the eastbound shoulder is getting widened to accommodate a traffic shift.

Ramp closures at Dort Highway and Center Road may help road crews do shoulder work, but are taking some drivers by surprise. One of them is Burton resident Gary Thronson.

"I got a post office box in Mt. Morris and I was going to get off here at Center Road, I didn't know it was closed until I got by it. So I had to go all the way down to Belsay Road, turn around and come back this way," he said.

The prep work for next year's traffic shift to allow bridge work and other repairs on I-69 is also taking a toll on local businesses.

"Business has definitely slowed down for the last four weeks. And since they closed the entrance ramp from the highway, things have really affected us since yesterday, so it's been a lot slower," Walli said.

You hould plan on using alternate routes before the ramps open up again, around Aug. 28.
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