Upcoming road construction will cause headaches


Ottawa Beach Road construction

Justin Anair

Instructor Kathleen Hoonhorst puts her freshly made coffee  in the cup holder next to her. She turns her brain on autopilot and begins her 15-minute travel to the high school. She’s traveled it for eight years and doesn’t have to think about the drive anymore. However, her morning trance is snapped by the sweet sounds of hammering, drilling and concrete pouring. Her favorite and the ideal route has now been obstructed by everyone’s favorite public activity: road construction. This soon will be Hoonhorst’s reality.


Unfortunately, construction will be happening on US-31, 132nd Street, Quincy and New Holland Street, starting in March. The construction is expected to last until late summer/early fall. “It will take me 5-10 minutes longer – mainly because of the traffic on this route,” Hoonhorst said. “ It may be even longer because of all the other travelers who will be re-routed.  I don’t anticipate changing my morning routine too much since it’s only adding 5-10 minutes.” Despite it having little effect on Hoonhorst’s schedule, the upcoming construction will certainly be a pain.


This construction is going to have a major impact on student life, too.


The final dismissal  bell sounds, and Soph. Dominic Aquino quickly runs to  his mom’s car to head to MVP for his weekly tennis lesson. The short trip generally takes around eight minutes, depending on  the after school traffic. Aquino has barely any time to spare and often gets to his 3:00 tennis lesson right on time. “It [the construction] definitely will affect my travel to MVP for tennis after school,” Aquino said. “I usually take Quincy and get onto US-31 because it’s quicker than Riley. But with US-31 and Quincy both having construction, it will slow us down having to take Riley, since more students will be forced to take Riley home due to construction.” The upcoming road construction will surely impact Aquino and many other students getting to their after-school activities.


The road construction also impacts student travel before school. Some students live as far as twenty minutes away from the high school and take US-31 and Quincy Street to get  here.  “To get to school on time, it usually takes me 10-15 minutes, and I usually take Quincy Street to avoid the traffic on Riley,” Jr. Katie Preikzas said. “I have morning conditionings on Mondays and Fridays. And I usually leave at 6:20 to get there at 6:30. But with the upcoming construction, I will probably have to leave 10 minutes earlier to get there on time.”


The construction of US-31 will happen in three stages. From March to early May, the traffic signals will undergo improvement. From early May to August, US-31 will be widening to three lanes, from Quincy Street to James Street, affecting only south-bound traffic. Then, from August to November, bridge repairs on US-31 from Lakewood Boulevard to I-96 will take place, affecting both lanes of traffic. Outside of US-31, construction will occur on 136th St, in between Quincy and Riley Street, lasting until November 1. Other plans include resurfacing Port Sheldon, from 72nd Street to 120th Street. Also, the stretch of Butternut Dr. just north of the high school will undergo resurfacing. As of right now, a large portion of Ottawa Beach road is under construction. The construction stretches from 160th St. to 168th St.