Business owners hopeful despite two-year long road construction plan in Orion Twp.

Posted at 7:25 AM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 07:51:27-04

If you thought orange barrel season was done, you thought wrong.

Beginning Tuesday, July 18, Orion Township becomes the latest hot-spot for road construction — a two-year long project kicks off, though the plan calls for limited interruption this year.

Those who operate businesses up and down Baldwin Road, where the construction will take place, say they’re excited for new widened lanes. They’re also concerned that it could deter their customers.

Jim Manzo, a regular at Pete’s Coney Island, told 7 Action News that the barrels haven’t gone unnoticed by staff at the restaurant.

“I think right now it’s just a lot of questions going around,” said Manzo.

The owner noted that he’s hopeful that construction workers will add to his business, and that his regulars will continue to come back. While the area will be under construction there are no plans to change traffic flow at this time. He said the bigger concern would be retail shops that rely on those who drive the route and could avoid it once they see the construction barrels.

The portion of the project starting now includes excavating crews replacing water mains and removing trees to prepare for the road to expand. The area affected at this time stretches between Morgan and Gregory. Eventually the road will be reconstructed as a wide-median four-lane boulevard for a large chunk of the road, while another section will become a five-lane road.

Roundabouts will be added to the intersections at Judah and Gregory.

The second phase will begin in late 2018 and take roughly a year to complete. In addition to expanding the width of the road, they’ll add an additional three roundabouts at Waldon, Maybee and the Great Lakes Athletic Club. Improvements with lighting and ADA compliant crosswalks will also be added.

“I think once they’re done it’ll be worth the effort of what they did,” said Manzo, noting that the area has seen an uptick in traffic in recent years.