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Major road projects starting soon in W. Mich.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In an annual Michigan tradition, orange barrels will soon be popping up everywhere.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has millions of dollars of construction in the works in 2013, and if you hit the road, it may directly affect you.
$75 million is expected to be spent in the region on road projects this year, with one of them being M-43 over US-131 in Oshtemo Township, where the bridge will get a facelift.
An even bigger challenge to US-131, though, is in the works for next year.
M-DOT is already preparing for that project--which involves changes to the US-131/Stadium Drive interchange.
"Anybody who's driven US-131 under Stadium Drive understands that bottleneck right there, with the weave and merge lanes," says Nick Schirippa, with M-DOT. "We're getting rid of that."
The project is designed to make the area more efficient and safe.
"Traffic won't be crossing itself at the merge lanes; traffic won't be crossing itself under the bridge anymore," Schirripa said.
The project, which was 5 years in the planning, also calls for replacing the bridge.
"We've been doing a lot of repairs to it over the past several years," explained Schirripa. "It's time to replace it just as a matter of course."
With the changes, though, are likely to come a few headaches for drivers.
"Ramps will be closed, obviously, because we're getting rid of some of them, so folks will be detouring on 94, 9th Street, West Main, kind of working their way around there," Schirripa admitted.
M-DOT says, however, that the new, more efficient design will be well worth it in the end.
The project will also include widening Drake Road, which will help to free up traffic that feeds into that area, so there will definitely be a lot of changes, but traffic should soon flow much better through the area.