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Drivers want to know: What are they doing in the S-Curve?

US-131 SCurve.jpg
Posted at 10:07 AM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 10:07:28-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Traffic jams backing up from lane closures in the S-Curve have been a daily annoyance for drivers on both northbound and southbound US-131.

Drivers have been wondering what workers are doing there.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says the project has been experiencing a cascading series of problems that turned a short-term project into a long-term headache.

“We apologize for the delays…It’s been very frustrating,” said MDOT Grand Region spokesperson John Richard in an e-mail exchange.

S-Curve lane closure MDOT image.jpg

The project started in early August as a job installing new signs in the S-Curve in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a county-wide sign upgrade.

The S-Curve itself is a complicated system including several bridges and buried utilities.

“Unfortunately, crews damaged a storm sewer pipe and this changed the plans and the entire original design,” Richards said. The design of sign foundations had to be changed, which added to the time, materials, and costs needed to finish repairs and the sign installation.

“There have been delivery issues, personnel issues, scheduling conflicts, quarantines,” Richard wrote. “It’s been Murphy’s Law this year.”

Even the weather didn’t cooperate, with recent wet weather slowing the process of wrapping things up.

"Thankfully crews are back at it and making progress,” Richard said.

There are hopes the lanes will be open by Halloween.