Public providing Michigan Department of Transportation with input for future of US-131
Designed in the 1950s and constructed in the ‘60s, US-131 south of Grand Rapids from Cherry Street to 28th Street is due for an update.
“Some people want to do away with 131, like get rid of it altogether and put in light rail and transit.”
That's John Richard, Communications Representative at the Michigan Department of Transportation. He tells us some want to make it a boulevard like the East Belt Line or reroute it.
Outside of Detroit, US -131 is the busiest expressway with 120,000 vehicles using it daily. Reimagining it is a challenge. It's narrow. There's a rail yard and the Grand River is in play. There are 26 exit and entrance ramps that are outdated.
“You have many concerns. It's those ramps that are closely spaced together. Those on and off ramps that are too short. Bridges are too narrow, so sometimes those large trucks have issues with the turning radii, especially at Wealthy.”
There's consideration for converting the Wealthy Street overpass to an underpass. $10 million is set aside for addressing Wealthy Street.
Richard tells us the state annually allocates the MDOT Grand Region $100 million.
“To fix this stretch of 131 between M-11 and 196 is going to cost about $600 million.”
Richard explains it may take a supplemental funding package similar to Detroit's I-75 modernization project that is specific to updating U.S. 131.
I’m Patrick Center.