Lansing workers, residents adjust to Capitol Loop construction
The Capitol Loop Project, an initiative to make repairs to portions of several roads surrounding the state Capitol, began April 5.
Although some expressed apprehension that the project could affect business and residential interests in the area, those most affected by the closures of parts of Ottawa Street and Capitol Avenue have experienced only minor inconveniences one week into the project.
Michigan Department of Transportation's Capitol Loop Project, which began last week, is repairing sections of roads surrounding the state Capitol.
The 2004 section of the project will repair portions of Ottawa and Pine streets, as well as Capitol Avenue.
In 2005, the transportation department will repair parts of Allegan and Walnut streets.
"We've lost a little bit of business due to the construction," said Jeff Currie, an employee at Beaner's Gourmet Coffee. "The majority of our customer base is foot traffic, so it hasn't been too bad."
The coffee shop, located at 120 W. Ottawa St., is one of the closest businesses to the construction.
Meanwhile, those who commute daily to downtown Lansing say the closures have not been a problem.
"It's a pain, but it hasn't really made my life a lot more difficult," said David Hall, eyeing the bulldozers and jackhammers being decimating Ottawa Street. "When I first heard they were doing this, I was thinking it would be more severe."
Hall, an Okemos resident, works in Lansing and said he typically travels on Ottawa Street.
"It adds about three minutes to my drive," he said. "If anything, the noise is the worst part."
The Capital Area Transportation Authority bus lines also have been affected by the project. As a result of the construction, it has made changes to nine of the bus routes - closing several bus stops and establishing detours.
Lansing resident Moira Thomas said she hasn't been affected by the project, but said she's not looking forward to next year's portion of the project, which will involve the closure of Allegan Street.
"That's really the only road I use down here," said Thomas, who works on Allegan Street. "I see what they have done to the other roads and it makes me nervous."
Initially, the project was slated to repair the entire loop, about five downtown roads, at the same time. But following concerns that navigating the area would be essentially impossible if this were to happen, plans changed and the project was separated into two phases.
Eventually, sections of Allegan, Ottawa, Pine and Walnut streets are also set to be repaired, with modifications to several other streets as well.
The 2004 construction is expected to be completed by October or November. The remaining portion of the undertaking is set to start next year.