With Gallery: Ann Arbor Stadium bridges reopening a relief to all
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After years of debates, complaints, and delays, Ann Arbor drivers will finally be able to cross the East Stadium Boulevard Bridges pothole-free starting Wednesday. Just about everyone around the city has had to dodge the bridges at some point over the past year. I, personally, made a few habitual turns and ended up facing a road-closed sign a number of times.
Officials expect to open the East Stadium Boulevard to traffic Wednesday afternoon. The exact time has not been determined, but senior project manager Michael G. Nearing said he expects it to be open by 5 p.m. In the coming days, there will be intermittent lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while workers put the finishing touches on the bridges.
Here's a look at how various constituencies will benefit from the reopening:
Ann Arbor residents
Calling the closing of Stadium Boulevard an inconvenience would be an understatement. Even before the crumbling structure was closed, drivers avoided the bridges because of their deteriorating condition. Now, with four lanes, sidewalks, staircases, and on-street bike lanes, the entire city is connected east to west.
Although South State businesses had relief from the closures when the underpass reopened, the bridge project was a headache for businesses across the city. West-siders can again easily get to Trader Joe's and east-siders can dine at Zingerman's Roadhouse without a detour.
Although it will only provide traffic relief to Michigan football fans for the final home game of the 2012 season, the new bridge will clear up much of the confusion for Ann Arbor visitors. More importantly, it may serve as a starting point for the proposed South State Street improvement project. No longer will out of town visitors be welcomed by a deteriorating structure surrounded by construction signs, instead, it will serve as a gateway into downtown much like the Broadway bridges do for those entering from the north.
How were you affected by the bridge construction? Tell us in the comments below.