Construction congests intersection on Deerfield Road for sewer maintenance
Construction on Deerfield Road has caused transportation difficulties for students and residents living in the Deerfield Village Apartments.
Deerfield Road has been under construction since early September, and many Deerfield residents have voiced concerns regarding the traffic congestion caused by the construction.
Union Township Utilities Coordinator Kim Smith explained the prolonged Deerfield Road project.
“A sanitary sewer has been put in, and the testing has been completed,” Smith said. “The construction should be fully completed in about 30 days.”
The Union Township Board of Trustees has been heavily involved with the project, and a new plan for the road is currently in negotiations. This plan would reconstruct Deerfield Road to include a bike lane for non-motorized vehicles.
Union Township Manager Brian Smith gave specifics about the possible plan in their last meeting.
“The construction would cost about $1.8 million and it would begin in about a year,” Smith said. “It would stretch all the way to Crawford Road.”
The construction along the one-block road has affected students who are coming in and out of the exits for their respective apartment complexes. Rockford junior Mackenzie Guest had a car mishap due to the construction about two weeks ago when leaving a friend's apartment.
"I was visiting a friend in Deerfield and I didn't pay much attention to the traffic signs," Guest said. "I was pulling out of Deerfield and my front two front tires fell straight into the drainage ditch."
Around 10 construction workers down the road saw Guest drive into the ditch and spent the next half hour getting her car out of the ditch by creating a small dirt ramp, while the workers picked up the front end.
St. Clair senior Brett Hadwin is another Deerfield Village resident who has been affected by the traffic backups near the busy intersection of Deerfield Road and Three Leaves Drive.
“When the construction caused Deerfield Road to become one lane, we had to go up Crawford Street to get to campus, which was kind of inconvenient,” Hadwin said. “It is also inconvenient getting home from the intramural fields and not being able to take Crawford Street to Deerfield Road, but having to take Denison Drive and Three Leaves Drive just to get home.”
Hadwin said he does not see the need for a lane made specifically for non-motorized vehicles anytime soon. He worries that the construction will get bad enough to block up the entrance to Deerfield Road, like it has done in the past.
“When you go to campus by bike, you’re only on Deerfield Road for a short amount of time before you hit the first bike path,” Hadwin said. “The road isn’t busy enough to need a specific bike lane, and it wouldn’t be worth blocking the road up again.”
At Lexington Ridge Apartments, Fraser junior Bridget Boczkowski has missed the bus on four occasions because construction has forced the bus schedule to change sporadically.
"I started driving because I'd rather take the chance of a getting a parking ticket instead of missing the bus," she said. "The construction wakes me up every morning, because my apartment is right next to the road."
Bethanne Morgan, who also lives in Lexington and commutes to Alma College, has had to adjust the times she leaves for her job at Tropical Smoothie.
"Getting there is tough because all of the traffic goes the same way at the same time," Morgan said. "It's a nuisance driving around the block every time I leave my apartment."
Deerfield Road is currently accessible with minor backups and is projected to be under construction until early November.