Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Cloverland Drive opens Monday

IRONWOOD — Motorists on Cloverland Drive might have noticed construction is nearly done in the second year of a total rebuild of U.S. 2 through the city.

In April, plans were outlined for the last mile of the construction project, spanning Curry Street to Roosevelt Street, widening the old 11-foot lanes by a foot.

Beginning in May, construction crews upgraded utilities, sidewalks and assembled a center left-turn lane at the Lake Street signal.

Hebert Construction, of Iron River, was the lowest bidder for general construction at $5,299,270. The plan was to finish construction in mid-October. Michigan Department of Transportation construction inspector Jim Waara said the crew stayed on schedule.

Throughout the construction project, Waara said the crew experienced few setbacks.

“There’s been minor construction problems,” he said, “but anytime you do a big job like like this, there’s always something.”

Watching a construction crew paint lane lines, Waara said the project has been a success.

“It’s gone pretty well. We’ve been lucky with the weather and we’re getting it done,” he said.

During construction, businesses remained open, but up and down the street, stores, motels and restaurants felt the “construction blues.”

At Red’s Auto, owner Bob D’Antonio said he saw less traffic, causing business to suffer.

“Our car wash was probably 50 percent less profitable than a year ago,” he said. “Our car lot was probably down about 55 units over last year.”

Near the end of the project, D’Antonio said business has been better recently.

“Since they blacktopped it, it’s been picking up,” he said.

Across the street, Annette Burchell said the Classic Motor Inn was affected by road construction, too.

“It was fine through the summer when the lane was open on our side,” she said. “But the last few weeks we haven’t had a driveway. Business has picked up now that we have one again. We’re pleased to have the electrical lines buried. It looks nice.”

On Monday, the city of Ironwood will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open Cloverland Drive at 1 p.m.

The ceremony will occur on U.S. 2, mid-block between Lake Street and Curry Street. When it’s open for traffic, Waara said he thinks the community will be relieved.

“They will have a beautiful, new road to drive on for many years,” he said.

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