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It might not feel like it today, but spring is finally here! The weather is getting warmer, restaurants and bars are opening to 50% capacity. Soon, down-state tourists will be flocking our towns for camping, fudge, or for a relaxing summer out on the lake.
There is one downside to all of the summer fun. With warm weather comes everyone's favorite state flower, the big orange cone. Road construction kicks off in the spring. And this year, road construction crews plan to spend a lot of time in Northern Michigan.
Starting April 5th, road construction begins in both Crawford and Roscommon Counties
According to The Sun Times, the Michigan Department of Transportation is investing 1.4 million dollars in repairing four bridges where US-127 and I-75 meet. Three of the bridges are on US-127, and one of the bridges is on I-75. The roads will be turned into one-lane roads, meaning more traffic jams and added travel times. It will stretch for about thirty miles.
As long as things stay on schedule, the construction is supposed to end on July 16th. Memorial Day, Father's Day, and the 4th of July are going to be crazier than expected because of construction.
What can you do to keep the construction from putting a damper on your summer vacation?
Road construction season isn't our favorite time of the year, but we wouldn't have many roads in the state without it. Whether you're an Up North local or a downstate person coming up for a vacation, here are some things you can do to keep the road construction from ruining your summer vacation.
- Get to know the back roads. Traffic is going to be backed up, especially on holiday weekends. If you can avoid the construction, don't go on it. Instead, take the scenic routes to get to your destination. Your trip might be longer taking the backroads, but you can pass by some quirky small towns along the way, and you could find new places to explore. Maybe you could find a place to start a new summer tradition!
- Add extra time on your trip. Some of you won't have the luxury of backroads on your trip, and you'll need to deal with single-lane traffic for thirty miles. You'll need to plan as far ahead as you can. If you have to pack the night before, then pack the night before. Nothing is more annoying than being late because you didn't plan for what you knew was coming.
- Bring extra things to keep the kids occupied. What's worse than being stuck in a traffic jam with kids in the car? Being stuck in a traffic jam with bored kids in the car. Extra books and video games are your best friends in these situations. Think of some extra games you can play with them in the car while you wait for the traffic to clear. Anything to keep them occupied.
- Have patience with everything. It doesn't matter if you're from downstate or Up North. Road construction is going to throw a wrench in everyone's plans. I expect to see more traffic than ever in Houghton Lake and Roscommon so people try to avoid road construction. As long as you plan and manage your time well, it shouldn't affect your daily routine too much.
Don't let road construction be the reason you stay home this summer
There are two ways you can look at the road construction situation. You can roll your eyes when you hear road construction and think, "Why didn't they do all of this when the pandemic started?" Or, you can look at it as another sign of life returning to normal in Michigan. The summer routines we love and hate are coming back in full force, and some of us are looking forward to it.