Ottawa Beach Road construction winding down; businesses take hit

Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-01 19:04:23-05

HOLLAND, Mich. – The November snowfall delayed Ottawa Beach Road construction beyond its original completion date of Nov. 15 into December. Now things have picked back up, with crews paving the westbound lanes of Ottawa Beach Road with fresh asphalt on Monday.

Although the Ottawa County Road Commission said, weather-permitting, road work will wrap up by Wednesday, business owners told FOX 17 that they have taken a hit.

"Every day we were getting phone calls saying, 'How do we get to your store?'" said Deb Van Wieren Axce, owner of Van Wieren Hardware.

Van Wieren Hardware posted signs just before construction on Ottawa Beach Road to assure their customers they are still open. Van Wieren Axce said they lost customers to road detours.

"Lots of little difficulties going on, but what we missed were the drive-by traffic," said Van Wieren Axce. "Thousands of cars were diverted to other roads, with these roads being closed. So it wasn't a matter of somebody stopping on their way to and from work."

Further, before road work at the tail end of Douglas Avenue, the Beechwood Inn and Coyote Café has experienced a 15 to 20-percent reduction in business, said owner Russ Shilander.

“They put the road closed sign all the way down by the Wesco station, so, about a half mile out, they're already routing people down Lakewood Avenue,” said Shilander. “So, that cuts down on traffic quite a bit. People could come all the way to the restaurant and then detour like the original plan, but I think they detour way before."

Then, up until recent paving, many residents said the temporarily raised manhole covers were a hazard.

"When they resurfaced the road, because they're adding an extra layer, what they do is they actually physically raise the manhole cover,” explained Shilander. “So until they put the second top coat on, the manhole covers are sticking up like two inches. Well, the big concern was the snow plow can't go over it, because it'll tear the tops off."

When the roads were not paved and after reading the road commission’s latest public update, many residents were concerned the construction would be delayed for months. Yet, with the break in weather and road commission officials saying paving is set to finish this week, businesses are ready for the holiday rush.

"I know that the corner of 144th, I know when people make left-hand turns there traffic is pretty bad, I know that the road was pretty beat up before,” said Shilander. “So it needed to be done, I mean it had to be done. Could it have been done a lot quicker? I think so, but it's hard to say."

Ottawa County Road Commission officials said Tuesday that crews will pave the sidewalks and driveways in the 144th and Ottawa Beach Road intersection area and then crews are set for pavement markings Wednesday.

This would wrap up roadwork, weather-permitting. Then, according to officials, topsoil and restoration work between the curb and sidewalk may take place this year or next spring.