Those heading to and from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport might want to add a few extra minutes to their travel time. Starting July 5, the City of Kentwood will be working on 44th Street between Broadmoor Avenue (M-37) to Patterson Avenue.
“Forty-fourth Street is the entrance way to Kentwood and the region,” said Kentwood’s Assistant City Engineer Dan VanderHeide, who noted that anyone who has driven on that section of road recently would have noticed it was in poor condition. “We want it to be welcoming to folks to the area.”
VanderHeide said one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained at all times with patrons having access to the airport during the entire construction project. The project is scheduled to be completed in September.
The almost $1.9 million project will include milling out the full eight inche of asphalt and replacing it with a new concrete surface. An extended right-turn lane will be added on westbound 44th Street at Broadmoor Avenue and irrigation will be added to the existing median islands. VanderHeide said irrigation will help to green up the medians and there are plans in the future to add trees.
The project also includes improving the entrance way to Hearthside Food Solutions. The company applied for and received a $64,444 in Category A Transportation Economic Development Funds (TEDF) from the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“Because we oversee 44th Street, we are the ones who will handle the work for Hearthside,” VanderHeide said. “It is just a coincidence that both projects [Heartside Food Solutions and the 44th Street rehabilitation] came to be at the same time.”
About a million dollars of the project will be funded through the FHWA in Surface Transportation Program Fund with the City of Kentwood paying for the remaining $758,283. Kentwod-based contractor Kamminga & Roodvoets was awarded the work by MDOT.
“I am proud of our team and our community partners who successfully gained the necessary capital which will allow for a major corridor within our community to be greatly improved,” noted Mayor Stephen Kepley.
Forty-fourth Street was made a boulevard in 1979. It was last rehabilitated in 2004.
VanderHeide said other than the 44th Street project this summer, the city does have scheduled the replacement of four traffic lights at the intersections of 32nd Street and Shaffer Avenue; 52nd Street and Eastern Avenue; 44th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue; and 44th Street and Breton Avenue.
Kentwood just completed a rehabilitation project on Walnut Hills Drive from 44th Street to Pffeiffer Woods Dr. SE.