Construction Adds to Already Slow Summer for Businesses

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

If drivers cringe at the sight of orange barrels, imagine how businesses feel.

With construction season in full swing in the Lansing area, local businesses are struggling to get customers in the door because many are avoiding the areas littered with orange barrels.

In downtown East Lansing, where business is typically already slower during the summer months, construction on M-43 Grand River Avenue has been going on for weeks.

And several residents in the area like Abby Rubley said they're ready for it to be over.

"It's a maze trying to get in and out of campus everyday," Rubley said. "It feels like we're trapped."

The dizzying sight of detour and road closure signs are causing residents like Rubley to avoid the area entirely.

"Normally, we would come down for dinner or we would do something down here and now it's not even worth it," she said.

"Trying to get parking alone is a nightmare."

Currently, the entire westbound side of Grand River Ave. is completely blocked off with one lane of traffic in each direction diverted to the eastbound side of the road.

"You're in for a rude awakening if you think you can get into any of these parking garages from Grand River, I think that's probably what's going to upset people the most," said Brian Crothers. "If you're not thinking proactively by the time you realize you're in the maze you know you've got to come out the other side and go around."

With people avoiding the area, businesses along Grand River Ave. like Modern Skate and Surf are feeling the effects.

"It just makes it a pain for people to actually show and come in and get here," said Eric Schmidt, manager.

"People have called in and have been like 'oh, isn't all that construction going on?' and don't want to come in."

And while it's a mess now, Mike Wiley, assistant manager at the Student Book Store, said he's glad the construction is happening now instead of during the school year.

"This is a much better time, but it is a maze," Wiley said. "I've lived in this town my whole life and I have to admit it requires some thought (to get around)."

M-DOT said they project is running about a week ahead of schedule and crews are aiming to have the westbound side of the street re-opened by the weekend.

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