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Construction Project to Handle Clemens, Crocker Congestion

Plans began five years ago to prevent backups on Clemens, but will also handle traffic increase from American Greetings.

Construction in the Crocker and Clemens roads area was five years in the making, but will fix troubles from increasing traffic to and the .

Plans are to build a split bypass from Crocker to Bassett roads, add a lane to the Interstate 90 West ramp and add a northbound turn lane at Detroit and Crocker Roads.

“This is mostly for Clemens Road,” said Mayor Dennis Clough. “The Crocker Park area— we haven’t finished with that. That really hasn’t been factored in to the Clemens Road relocation project.”

Clough said the project is meant to move along traffic from offices and developments that gets caught up on Clemens Road during rush hours.

The $5 million project will be financed half through federal funding, and half by the city. Construction is schedule for completion in 2013.

The city began working on plans to help alleviate congestion five years ago when made plans to build a campus there. Although the project is not in reaction to the Crocker Park expansion, it will help the area handle traffic from 2,000 American Greetings employees.

“We did this well before American Greetings even thought about leaving where they were at,” said Director of Engineering Bob Kelly.

The city and independent firm Wells + Associates both conducted traffic studies for the area using projected numbers through 2030. Both found that the construction will facilitate movement and relieve congestion.

“Our study was asked to try to determine if what we were doing at Clemens would assist any traffic out in that area,” Clough said. “And it will, but the purpose of the study started with congestion on Clemens Road.”

The study projects traffic patterns for the next 20 years, assuming that the city completes the planned construction and development continues in the area.

“The report says if we spend this money today, it will be sufficient with American Greetings coming,” Kelly said.

Kelly cautioned, however, that no traffic pattern is perfect.

“There will always be days like the holiday shopping rush that you’re going to see traffic congestion,” he said, noting that there will probably be about 30 days during the year with backups. “The rest of the 335 days will be fine,” he said.

Clough said officials will continue to look at the impact of development at Crocker Park as American Greetings starts to build.

 “If at some time down the road after the is done we need some additional assistance at the Crocker interchange, maybe we’ll look at it,” he said.

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