The first stage of construction started Monday on Gumwood Rd. Orange and white blockades were placed in the middle of the roadway to prevent through traffic between Gumwood Crossing Rd. and Brick Rd. to the north.
St. Joseph County High Dept. Supervisor, Jessica Clark, said the entire project extends roughly 2.5 miles north on Gumwood Rd. to the Indiana-Michigan border. Selge construction won the bids for each of the three stages of the construction, meaning crews can be better coordinated and the entire process expedited. The total price tag when everything is completed will be around $7.5 million.
According to Clark, construction on the area south of Brick Rd. will hopefully be finished by the end of the summer. The formerly two-lane stretch will be transformed into a four-lane road with walking paths linking nearby neighborhoods to Tuscana Park and Heritage Square.
Clark said the first stage will likely be complete by the end of the summer, with a completion of round-a-bouts coming by the end of the year.
Two round-a-bouts will replace the traffic stops at the intersection of Gumwood and Adams and Gumwood and Brick Rd., however construction on those won’t start until the road work is done south of Brick.
The stretch between Brick and Adams will be reconstructed to include a third lane for turns, north of Adams Rd. until the state line will be a repaved two-lane road.
While the end result promises improved traffic flow for the “highly congested” commuter route, businesses and residents of the Brendon Hills neighborhood are temporarily inconvenienced.
“We might be inconvenienced for a bit but we’ll have a better result when it’s done,” said Erin Ytterberg, a resident of Brendon Hills, “but I’m really excited about the changes their making and I’m really excited about the walking paths and the sidewalks so it’s very worth it.”
Over at Tony Sacco’s, employees fear that detours will lead to more congestion in the area and further deter potential customers from stopping by Tuscana Park or Heritage Square.
“When they shut down Gumwood on the north side it will definitely affect traffic coming in,” said Tony Sacco’s advisor, Jesse Arredondo.
The best the stores can do is to get creative with advertising to remind everyone they’re still open, said Arredondo.