Residents concerned about upcoming construction project on M-46 - WNEM TV 5

Residents concerned about upcoming construction project on M-46

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A major reconstruction project is planned for a key road that connects many Mid-Michigan communities.

While the project could improve the quality of their commute in the long run, many residents are concerned about what it could mean for business and travel in the meantime.

“I’m not feeling great about it. I know it’s the greater good and in the long run it’ll be better. It’s just this is gonna be a tough six months,” said Tom Urbaniak, owner of Midpoint Market and Deli.

Urbaniak is worried about the big construction revamp on M-46. His business will be smack dab in the middle of it and the detour will go around his store.

“It’s just gonna be a little bit harder to make sure everybody knows they can still get there,” Urbaniak said. “I expect to lose business, but the question is how much?”

That’s why he attended MDOT’s meeting Tuesday night to learn more about the project.

A lot of people had the same idea since M-46 is the main road in Hemlock and Merrill.

“If you’re gonna get from one side of the state to the other, this is it. There’s no expressways going east and west through this part of the county,” said Bob Rohn, resident. “It’s a very well-traveled road. A lot of semis on it and so forth.”

That’s part of the reason the road is torn up. The drainage needs work too, which is why Bill Schwieger said the construction project is a good thing.

“It’s definitely for the better and it’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but it’s progress in the right direction and I have no problem with that,” Schwieger said.

Meanwhile, Urbaniak is prepared for the worst.

“It’ll be a pain to drive through it when they have the one ways. I’m hoping it won’t be too bad during the evenings and weekends. Hopefully then the traffic will come back and I’ll still have some business,” Urbaniak said.

The project costs about $13 million and will start in mid-April. It is expected to wrap-up in October.

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