Grand River Avenue businesses react to MDOT construction project

OKEMOS — Businesses have faced a pandemic, labor shortages, supply shortages, inflation, and now some Meridian Township businesses have one more potential obstacle with a large Grand River Avenue construction project underway.

This month the Michigan Department of Transportation started construction for a $14.7 million project that will do resurfacing and drainage improvements on Grand River Avenue, also known as M-43, in the heart of the township.

Some business owners are already noticing the impact, including Lotus Beauty Lounge owner MelissaLynn Terry, who had to find a new route to her full-service salon in Meridian Mall due to the construction.

“So we’re trying to you know, think ahead of the curve,” she said. “Let our clients know in advance like, ‘hey, we don’t want you to be late for your appointment, so why don’t you take this route,’ and we’re just going with the flow.”

Stylists work at full-service salon Lotus Beauty Lounge in the Meridian Mall.

Project construction work includes joint and crack repairs, intermittent curb and gutter replacement, spot drainage repairs and sidewalk ramp upgrades. Once completed this project will reduce the frequency and impact of area flooding, according to MDOT’s website.

People who drive in the area should anticipate this project to last about 18 months, weather permitting, with milling and repaving of Grand River Avenue from Oak Pointe Court to Nakoma Drive, Meridian Township Neighborhoods and Economic Development Director Amber Clark said in an email.

Grand River Avenue traffic will be slowed and all access driveways will remain open for visitors to enter and exit business drives.

“We encourage people to utilize the detours as provided and give themselves a bit more drive time to get to their destinations,” Clark said.

Construction signage and orange barrels seen on East Grand River Avenue near Cornell Road in Meridian Township Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

As a partner to the local business community, Meridian Township will launch an 18-month “shop local” initiative with signage along Grand River Avenue to remind the public that businesses will be open and need their patronage, she said.

“What we can do as patrons will help our businesses to remain open and financially viable,” she said. “The economy is a revolving relationship of commerce. It is our hope that Meridian can show by example through the construction we are present, supportive, and remain a prime community.”

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