Editor's note: Our series "Getting Around Metro Detroit" explores the problems and solutions to transportation issues throughout our area.
We want to help you get around metro Detroit, which lately has been difficult to do in the city of Birmingham, but the road construction project finish line is near.
Several blocks of Old Woodward are completely closed to traffic. The only vehicles that can drive or park there are construction vehicles. For those in the area, the road to improvement has been rough.
“You know the result is going to be beautiful and you’re excited for it, but the process to get there is sometimes a struggle,” said Debbie Balaj.
Balaj gets it. She works in client services at Dr. Ali & AMAE Med Spa on Old Woodward. They’re in the business of reconstruction too.
“We are really transforming peoples lives,” Balaj said, “They don’t feel good about their bodies and we get to play a role in bringing smiles back and making them feel good about themselves.”
They aim to see results with little downtime.
“Patients bounce back pretty quickly! A lot more quickly than this construction project, but that’s ok,” Balaj said.
The extreme makeover of Old Woodward began nearly four months ago, closing the street between Brown and Willits. Maple is impacted as well.
The streets are undergoing extensive upgrades, including new sewers, water mains, expanded sidewalks, new pavement, street lights, traffic signals, planters and parking meters.
However, paving the way to beauty has had side effects.
“When we have medical patients who are sick, they have cancer, they’re just trying to come in here and have their reconstruction done, it’s really overwhelming to try to explain to them where to find everything,” Balaj said.
Due to the road closure, traffic has been re-routed and customers have had to search for blocks in hopes of finding parking.
The city of Birmingham says the finish line is near. The project is 95 percent complete and many are excited to see the results.
“We’re definitely looking forward to the grand re-opening for us and our patients. We are counting down,” Balaj said.
The city is planning a grand re-opening celebration for Saturday, Aug. 11 starting at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the intersection of Old Woodward and Maple.
The celebration will continue with the annual Day on the Town shopping extravaganza, as city merchants display their wares for purchase. Day on the Town will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with shoppers being among the first to walk on the new concrete street as well as see the new amenities in downtown Birmingham.