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Why is there so much construction in Kalamazoo?

An image of road construction showing a road closed in front of a gas station. Construction equipment and workers are visible behind orange and white barricades.
Melissa Dancy
Westnedge Avenue at Crosstown Parkway on June 12th, 2024.

Multiple road closures are disrupting traffic across Kalamazoo. The city says the pileup is due in part to how the projects are funded.

Parts of Kalamazoo feel like a maze this summer, as streets close for a variety of projects from road work to lead service line removal.

“It seems like every time I go out I have to plan so many alternate routes that I end up getting to my destination in a roundabout way. Most recently, Westnedge has just been chaotic," Kate Slonina of Kalamazoo told WMUK.

Slonina wanted to know why there are so many road closures all at once.

James Baker is the city's public services director. He said the projects were not intended to overlap. But many of them are at least partly grant-funded, and those grants have deadlines.

“The timeline of how that takes place is really a unique thing. And it is really part of funding and part of how things come together. But once that starts and we get the funding then that is the time to act," Baker said.

He added that the city has received more than $100 million in funding for the various projects.

David Crocker of Michigan Holistic Health on South Westnedge Avenue said that customers have limited access.

“They had every entrance to our parking lot completely blocked off for a period of time. We have to periodically go out and move cones around so people have at least one way to get in here even on the streets that are local traffic only.”

Baker said the city is spending $68,000 on social media and radio advertisements promoting some businesses affected by the construction.