Grand Rapids City Construction | Updates and What To Know
If there is one thing that you can expect to see in Michigan on a regular basis, it’s construction. This inevitably causes road closings, and travel can be difficult in areas such as Grand Rapids. The city is also currently undergoing a lot of new developments in housing and commercial properties. One example of this is the new Studio Park Lofts and community center on the block of Ionia between Cherry and Oakes. This development caused the closing of the ramp to 131 at Cherry St.
As the city works to widen and replace the decks on the bridge heading west, I-196 W will be closed. This closing over the Grand River and 131 also means traffic. There is only one lane open to get to the Fuller, College, Ottawa, and downtown exits. This is scheduled to continue through August 30th, but I would not be surprised if it took longer.
If you’re headed west on I-196, it is recommended to take M-6 to 131 north to get downtown. If you are getting on after M-6, you should continue on I-96 to Southbound US-131 into downtown.
For those who want to head east on I-196, the Leonard street exit will continue to be closed until October. This will remain closed while a bridge is removed and rebuilt. The Lenard St ramp to I-96 heading east will be closed through June next year.
If you are trying to head east and are on I-196, you should take that to 131 south. Once you head south, resume back to the east by taking M-6 east towards Lansing.
Grand Rapids is one of the fastest growing cities in the entire country. It seems like everyone wants to move here from businesses, to families, to students. That being said, the city itself has been and continues to grow and change to accommodate the influx of people, as well as provide the highest quality of life and amenities as possible. As Beer City USA, Grand Rapids also gets a lot of tourism, and hotels are popping up all over the city to take advantage of this potential income. Since 2011, there has been a boom in housing of over 4,000 units, with most of the new construction and development taking place downtown.
With the influx of tourism and visitors to Grand Rapids, developers have found great value in hotels. There are many new hotels under construction right now both downtown and around the city. The new Studio Park complex will feature a new hotel by Hilton, called Canopy. A Residence Inn will be located on the corner of Ionia and Fulton E, in a 13 story building holding 146 rooms, and will open in 2020. The Hyatt Place opened this year with 160 rooms in the entertainment district. Just north of the 6th street bridge on the riverfront, the Staybridge Suites has 110 rooms and opened in 2019. Even the Amway downtown is getting a $40 million renovation to keep up with the times and attract business downtown.
Naturally, the new construction of these hotels will cause closings on streets. Generally this is held to a minimum, but is inevitable for there to be closures and detours. For example, the Hyatt Place downtown has reduced traffic lanes, and commuting past there can take longer than expected, especially combined with the highway construction.
The Medical Mile on the north side of downtown is already worth $2 billion, and looking to expand even more. In the life-sciences corridor, MSU is building an Innovation Center, and GVSU is building a Health Sciences Facility. On the West side of downtown, a brand new $20 million regional headquarters is being built by Consumers Energy. More office space downtown is being added as well, in the form of a 15 story multi-use building, as well as two more office buildings of 6 and 7 stories, respectively.
Frederick Meijer Gardens has launched a $115 million project to expand upon the park. Meijer Gardens is the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in the state. The nonprofit group Grand Rapids White water is also working hard to improve upon the condition of the Grand River. They have been able to raise $4 million in order to launch their restore the rapids initiative.
As you navigate the construction and the road closings around the city, you can keep track of what is under construction here. Be aware of what time of day brings the most traffic. Usually the most congestion on 131 occurs around 830-900 am, and between 5-6pm. These times are longer around the on ramps, as most people take the alternate routes, which get congested due to not being built to handle high traffic volumes. Regardless of where you are going, obey the traffic laws. As always, please drive carefully and be aware of all other traffic around you.