JACKSON, MI – The orange barrels already are out on W. Michigan Avenue, as preliminary work begins on a nearly $20 million Michigan Department of Transportation project.

Consumers Energy is moving gas and electrical lines along W. Michigan Avenue, as the reconstruction project from First Street to Brown Street is set it begin this month.

MDOT was hoping to begin by April 10, but still needs to award the contract, said Jason Pittman, MDOT project manager for design portion of project.

MDOT still plans to start construction in mid-April. The project should finish in December, Pittman added.

The W. Michigan Avenue project has been paired with the downtown Jackson two-way conversion of Washington Avenue and Louis Glick Highway. The entire project – including construction, construction oversight, design and right-of-way work – is about $18.8 million, with $6.2 million coming from the city of Jackson.

Milling and resurfacing will begin on E. Michigan Avenue in a few weeks – as part of a separate project. That preventative maintenance will only takeĀ about one month, Pittman said, with work coming at night between Cooper and Dwight streets.

City roundup: Grand opening set for City Square, demolition contract rescinded

City roundup: Grand opening set for City Square, demolition contract rescinded

Five hours and 18 minutes later, here are the highlights from the meeting.

W. Michigan Avenue construction

When the project begins, westbound traffic will be detoured to Wildwood Avenue around to Brown Street for the duration of the project. One lane of eastbound traffic will be maintained throughout the project.

“W. Michigan is in bad shape,” Pittman said. “This is taking care of that condition. It is poor. It’s been poor for quite a few years.”

More than two-third of the project’s costs are in this portion of the project – with most of the funding coming from MDOT. The reconstruction includes drainage, sidewalk, signals, water main relocation and more.

MDOT to host public meeting on downtown loop conversion

MDOT to host public meeting on downtown loop conversion

Construction is a few weeks away to convert the downtown Jackson loop from one-way traffic to two-way streets.

Washington/Louis Glick conversion

When MDOT scheduled the W. Michigan Avenue project for 2017, the city of Jackson approached the department asking if it could add work on. The project now encompasses the conversion of Louis Glick Highway and Washington Avenue from one-way streets to two-way streets.

The streets will have one lane in each direction with a middle turn lane.

Most of the city’s $6.2 million portion of the project is for the two-way conversion and the necessary railroad crossing work. No federal or state aid goes toward the $4.8 million conversion project.

The biggest part of the conversion project is the east and west side intersections, where multiple roads converge. View the gallery above for the new intersection layouts. The blue shading is area currently covered by road but will become sidewalk, while the green is area currently part of the roadway but will become grass.

“The two-way conversion is what the city wanted,” Pittman said.

Washington Avenue will be addressed first, then Louis Glick Highway. Both roads will remain open for traffic during the project. Crews will upgrade turn radiuses and traffic lights at all intersections for the new two-way pattern.

Speed limits on both roads will not change, Pittman said. While the conversion may still slow down drivers from getting past downtown Jackson, it’s meant to help facilitate travel inside the downtown area.

“From the city’s standpoint, I think the benefit is it’s not as confusing,” Pittman said. “You can get to businesses from both roads from both directions. It was the city’s decision, so that’s why we’re moving forward with that.”

Two-way conversion was also required in the city’s contract with the Lofts on Louis Development, which is scheduled to finish this fall.

When will the actual two-way conversion happen? MDOT will alert the public before making the change, which Pittman expects to occur by mid-summer.

By Taylor DesOrmeau | tdesorme@mlive.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on April 04, 2017 at 10:37 AM, updated April 04, 2017 at 5:24 PM