MTU coping with road construction
HOUGHTON — Move-in weekend at Michigan Technological University results in more crowded streets even in a normal year.
Add in construction on U.S. 41/Townsend Drive and the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, and people can expect even slower traffic than Houghton’s seen this summer, said Brian Cadwell, director and police chief of Michigan Tech Public Safety and Police Services.
“It’s going to be the matter of a few thousand more cars in the area, and the more cars you put into a restricted traffic pattern, the more patience people will need to just deal with it,” he said.
The construction on Townsend Drive, originally scheduled to end Aug. 27, will instead end two weeks later, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced this week.
Southbound traffic on U.S. 41 is being reduced to one lane through Michigan’s campus. Northbound traffic is being redirected to Cliff Drive.
The detour creates a leap in traffic for the street, which separates the main part of campus from portions of buildings such as the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building. Cadwell said the department will do radar patrols to make sure motorists aren’t speeding.
Crossing guards are also being considered for the crosswalks on Cliff Drive going to the Dow and Minerals & Materials buildings.
“We’ve got to have people watching where they’re going and paying attention to the extra vehicles,” he said.
Along U.S. 41, construction might actually help with pedestrian safety, as traffic will be concentrated into only one lane, Cadwell said.
The routes followed by the university’s shuttle buses have also been changed in some cases to avoid road closures. While the routes may take longer, they will run to the usual locations, Cadwell said.
While the U.S. 41 detour will end in September, the lane closures on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge are expected to continue for another month. For Cadwell, it can’t come soon enough.
“I ask people just to be patient, leave extra time if you’re leaving for work in the morning, leave extra time if you’re leaving campus to go somewhere else after work,” he said.