US 41 construction to continue through late October

Houghton+from+the+air+on+Friday%2C+Photograph+by+Tim+Peters

Houghton from the air on Friday, Photograph by Tim Peters

Laurel Schmidt

The restructuring of US 41 has run into delays during construction.

 

While preparing the site for repaving, a mine vent was discovered along with more underground

debris than anticipated. These complications have delayed paving of the road, thus delaying the

overall completion of the project and restoration of normal traffic flow.

 

The current detour in place routes northbound US 41 traffic into the southbound lane and

southbound US 41 traffic around the city via Sharon Avenue to Macinnes Drive. This detour is

also set to continue through late October in conjunction with the construction.

 

Along with the detour via Sharon Avenue, temporary speed bumps are installed on East

Houghton Avenue due the increased level of traffic now utilizing it. The other

traffic change in place is the closure of the right turn lane from Montezuma Avenue to Franklin

Street, forcing traffic to merge left onto North US 41.

 

“I just hope the construction issues get resolved before it starts to snow,” says Jennifer Wilson, a 4th year at Michigan Technological University. They use US 41 to get to campus frequently and are concerned about icy road conditions and additional traffic on the steep roads off US 41.

 

While the average first inch of snow usually falls at the end of October, snow can arrive sooner

than expected this far north. Significant snowfall has been recorded as early in the season as late September, which would severely impact construction progress.

 

The construction was initially scheduled to be complete by the beginning of September,

coinciding with the return of students to Michigan Technological University. Due to these

unforeseen delays, late October is now the new scheduled end of construction, marking the end

of the two year restructuring project.

 

The work onf US 41 is a $9 million project designed to improve the overall traffic design

of the area and increase pedestrian safety. Along with the changes that can be seen on the

surface, underground, the sewer system and water main need to be replaced due to their age. The project broke ground at the end of July 2021, and took a break from October 2021 through April 2022 to account for the winter weather in Houghton. The new date of late October marks the end of the construction on US 41.

 

This is not the first delay on this restructuring project;last year, construction crews working on

the first section of road ran into underground utility and water main problems. This caused a

delay in the construction through October. The routing northbound US 41 traffic around the

university campus via Cliff Drive remained in effect until Oct. 1, 2021.