Construction affects Ish. businesses

The Partridge Creek diversion project in Ishpeming is affecting downtown traffic.

The intersection of Lakeshore Drive, Hematite Drive, Division Street and Greenwood Street is shut down.

It opened briefly for the 4th of July parade before closing again.

The area should be once again open to traffic starting Monday.

“I think most of the business owners understand that there’s going to be some inconvenience in this infrastructure (that) ultimately does impact their bottom line,” Ishpeming public works director and interim city manager Jon Kangas said. “We understand it. When the project is done, we hopefully won’t have to impact them for another 20 years.”

Access to some businesses on or near Lake Street is limited to foot traffic only.

At least one business owner is handling the situation with some good humor.

“Car traffic is blocked coming in from both ways, and it’s going to be that way for another couple of weeks,” Andriacchi’s Store owner Josefa Andriacchi said. “You can walk to get to my business, which is a nice thing, and if you walk to my business, you don’t have to go to the gym that day.”

However, businesses are experiencing decreased sales.

“The construction has slowed down our customer count, and we just want to remind everybody that we are open,” Wilderness Sports owner Sandee Sundquist said. “You may see signs coming into town ‘closed to through traffic’, but remember, the businesses are open.”

“There haven’t really been any personal concerns discussed with me,” Ashley Geist from the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce said. “However, I have heard concerns from business owners saying, ‘I’m not sure if people are able to get to our places of business because of the construction’.”

But some of those personal concerns have made their way to city staff.

“We’ve been fairly criticized for not, maybe, posting access to those business owners,” Kangas said. “I accept that criticism and hope to move forward constructively.”

The Partridge Creek project should be complete in late October.