City, state eye Medical Mile ramp work


The off-ramps from I-196 into downtown Grand Rapids. Photo by Pat Evans

The gateway to downtown from I-196 is in line for some major improvements.

Before the $88 million Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center is finished, work to facilitate traffic flow along the Medical Mile will be addressed by the city and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The project will include improved freeway ramp configurations at Ionia and Ottawa avenues with I-196, and modifications to the intersection of Division Avenue and Newberry Street.

MDOT announced recently it would award a $1.5 million Transportation Economic Development Fund grant to the city of Grand Rapids for the project, which is expected to cost more than $6.1 million.

The improvements are expected to alleviate traffic stresses from the increase in development along Michigan Street’s Medical Mile, including the creation of 130 new jobs at the MSU Research Center. There is currently no timeline for the construction and it is pending a final design, according to MDOT.

The city and the MDOT Grand Region will supply the rest of the $4.6 million.

“The city of Grand Rapids and MDOT have been excellent partners as we've moved through the planning and construction for the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center,” said Vennie Gore, MSU’s vice president for auxiliary enterprises, in a written statement. “We continue to be impressed with their commitment to the Medical Mile partners and the community in improving traffic flow throughout the corridor.”

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