Michigan Street and College Avenue - Monday morning
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Fix on I-196 closed the highway down Monday, causing traffic to spill over onto side streets in downtown Grand Rapids.
The sun rose on the construction and detours. But, the commute continued as people found their way to work, school, and other destinations. Bill Wiebenga says he got to work by taking "196 to College, got off, 2 left turn lanes on Michigan made it a breeze."
Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids' largest employer, started warning workers at and around Butterworth Hospital downtown about possible traffic tie-ups months ago. Spokesman Bruce Rossman says, "Our 7:00am shift made it in without any trouble. Security said there weren't any backups or anything."
Michigan Street at College Avenue picked up a lot of traffic because College is the only exit that is still open from the East and the West.
Businesses, like Curtis Cleaners at College and Michigan, are hoping some of those drivers stop in. Manager Andy Curtis says, "It's obviously busier. A lot more traffic coming by, which is a good thing. We'll see. I'm hoping it will be a good thing, anyway."
Many drivers avoided 196 altogether by taking side streets. Amer Hwail says, "It was kind of busy. It seems like a lot of people knew about it and took that road. Sometimes I take Fulton also and usually it seems like it's slower, more empty, I guess, less traffic. Today was kind of busy." Corrine Cornelius says, "I kind of expected it on Michigan, but not on Fulton."
Fulton did have a steady flow of cars, perhaps good news for businesses there, like Van's Pastry Shop. Brittany Ouwinga says, "Probably, because a lot of people probably have to drive by here."
Because traffic promises to remain a challenge while the Fix on I-196 keeps the highway closed.