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28th Street construction already delayed

9:20 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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Construction work on 28th Street SE began March 18, 2013.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A mix of rain and snow shut down the 28th Street construction project just hours after it began.

Eastbound closures began Monday morning and are scheduled to run each day until 8 p.m., ending on Friday.

Westbound closures are scheduled to start Tuesday morning at 8 a.m and run until Saturday at 7 p.m.

However, MDOT spokesman John Richard says crews won't resume until the roads are dry enough.

Three-and-a-half miles of orange cones are all 40,000 drivers will see for the next eight months if they stick to their daily 28th Street commute. MDOT is currently installing temporary signals to help with the heavy traffic and the road will be widened.

MDOT says the work will add four to nine minutes on commute times, and estimates 25 percent of daily traffic will find an alternate route.

But if you're one to go off the beaten path, you could save some serious time. WZZM 13 is providing you expert navigation starting at the Hampton Inn, right behind Target on 28th Street. One secret, is to head behind Target.

"We can take Hotel Ave to 33rd and that way we can go 33rd to Patterson," said Rich VanAntwerp.

Call VanAntwerp the 'backroads expert' of 28th Street. He's driven the Hampton Inn's airport shuttle for the last seven years and has seen his share of construction.

"Coming up to 33rd and Patterson, we take a left to the airport," he said.

Traffic was basically non-existent on our trip with him. His other option for 33rd Street is to go east.

"To Kraft to 36th Street, West on 36th to Patterson," he said.

And if you're by 44th street, VanAntwerp offers up this route.

"44th Street to Broadmoor North, M-37."

MDOT also recommends two other routes. One, Burton to Patterson, and two, 29th Street - Breton to the Beltline, past East Paris to Patterson.

But if you want VanAntwerp's opinion on which will be the busiest alternate route to aviod? He says the latter.

"29th Street heading east," he said, citing all the stop lights.

VanAntwerp estimates each side road will add on another five minutes to your trip. But, he may have created a little problem.

"If you're telling everyone, 40,000 vehicles everyday to take that route, are you a little nervous?" we asked him.

"Yeah, there'll be tie-ups on traffic," he said. "Maybe you'll need to plan for more than five minutes."

The construction schedule this week and next depends on the weather.

In June, workers will resurface 28th Street between Breton and Patterson, and completely rebuild the street between Patterson and I-96.

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