TRAVERSE CITY — Summer road construction projects are under way and slowing commuters across the Grand Traverse area.
Motorists who tried to get from east of Traverse City to downtown hit two traffic snarls on this morning's commute. Drivers along U.S. 31 ran into backups that stretched east more than a mile, a tie-up caused by a three-lane closure of the highway between Three Mile and Four Mile roads.
Drivers who tried to avoid the backups along the bay hit a miles-long snake of brake lights running from the intersection of Hammond and High Lake roads to the edge of the city.
“We have about 40 miles of projects that are either under construction or going to be under construction within the next two weeks,” said Jim Cook, Grand Traverse County Road Commission manager.
Work on U.S. 31 between Three and Four Mile roads was in full force today and should wrap by the end of Thursday, he said.
“It’s kind of an emergency repair-slash-fix on 31 to address any potential hazards or safety issues,” Cook said. “It’s prep work to tide the road over until 2015, when they’re going to do a complete reconstruction of that road.”
Work on South Airport Road also started today and runs from Veterans Drive to just west of the railroad tracks near the Goodwill store.
The repaving project is expected to last three weeks. Lanes will be closed this week and the week of June 23 during the day, the week of June 16 during the night.
“We’re trying to encourage people to look for alternative routes. Otherwise, they’re really going to get tied up,” Cook said. “South Airport is a tough road to be on when all lanes are open and the weather is nice.”
Traverse City resident Rusty Havens drives a service truck for Lautner Irrigation, Inc. He said alternate routes and congestion spots are regularly posted on a bulletin board in the office so drivers know what to expect, but even alternate routes can become backed up with traffic.