GRAND BLANC (WJRT) (1/27/2020) - After months of debate, Perry Road in Grand Blanc will be seeing some big changes.
A mile-long stretch between Genesee Road and Saginaw Street will undergo a road diet, which could have more people seeking other travel options during the summer months.
The city of Grand Blanc is hoping to shave the roadway down from four lanes down to three lanes. The two eastbound and westbound travel lanes would be converted to a single lane in each direction with a center turn lane and bike lanes on each side.
The project isn't just about safety. It's about making the area a more walkable and bikable city
The project will only cost a few thousand dollars and be covered by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant to extend the Iron Belle Trail, which runs of Belle Isle in Detroit to the western Upper Peninsula.
The bike lanes being created along the sides of Perry Road will luckily be a minor project in comparison to some of the other options the city considered.
"We don't have to do anything to the road. We just have to grind down a little bit of the asphalt and remark it and restripe it," said Grand Blanc City Manager Wendy Jean-Buhrer.
In addition to the bike lanes, the city also worked with the Genesee County Road Commission on a lane reduction to make the intersection of Perry and Genesee roads safer.
Genesee Road reduces from two lanes to one at the intersection, which leads to many accidents when cars are rushing to get into the lane on time.
"Someone could turn here and this car could go, but a lot of times they're just competing and doing a dragster," Jean-Buhrer said.
She said the project will only take a few weeks to complete and Perry Road will not be closed completely. But some businesses along the stretch still are concerned about the effects.
Owners at Great Harvest Bread Company say they nearly shut down during the last time there was construction along Perry Road. Co-owner Scott Sassack said that project was more extensive, but he still fears this change could put him and his employees at risk once again.
"I hope people don't get scared and try to fight us and leave us in the dust, because we're in our slowest time right now," he said. "Our busiest time is really from Easter to September and that could really hurt us for a week's worth of loss.
Sassack said he's happy to see the bike lanes coming to Perry Road, but he believes the money could have been better spent on other roads in the city of Grand Blanc.