In spite of the City of Allegan's attempts to improve road conditions and traffic flow, many residents are unhappy with proposed changes that the city plans to institute beginning this year. In addition to the heated debate about the new roundabout which will replace the city's busiest intersection at M-89 and M-40 South, residents will now find themselves inconvenienced by the closure of the "Old Iron Bridge" on Second Street which connects M-89 to Brady Street and the downtown area.

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In a recent Facebook post The City of Allegan said,

The City of Allegan will begin the reconstruction of Second Street from Marshall Street (M89) to Brady Street beginning the week of April 4, 2022...The end result will be a one-way north-bound entrance into Downtown Allegan from Marshall Street... Second Street and the Second Street Bridge will be closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic during construction. Posted detours will be in place and traffic is asked to follow the detours.

 

I grew up and currently live in Allegan, so I think I can speak on everyone's behalf when I say we locals all take pride in the Old Iron Bridge and we appreciate the fact that it is still in use to this day. However, I'm sure I am not the only Allegan resident who is upset with all the recent changes in town.

In addition to the, "new pavement, grading, curb, gutter, and storm sewer improvements, new bridge decking, new sidewalk including ADA upgrades, and an east-facing overlook down the Kalamazoo River" the Old Iron Bridge will now be closed to two-way traffic and will change to one-way only. That is a big inconvenience!

Here's what locals are saying:

Zac Scott,

Thankfully I won't live in Allegan when this "improvement" is finished. Making that bridge one way is stupid.

Colleen Johnson,

I live 1 block east of the bridge when I want to come home from being downtown I use that bridge. Now I will have to use either Trowbridge St, Cutler St. or Monroe St. going at least three blocks out of my way to get home. Going down Trowbridge St. and making a left turn on to Cedar St. can be terrible depending on what time of day it is, but like I said us average citizens our voices don't matter.

 

Allegan residents still have a sour taste in their mouth after council members chose to move forward with plans to build an 80-room hotel along the riverfront. It seems this shift to one-way bridge traffic is to accommodate hotel traffic but many (like myself) see this as a huge inconvenience. It's already difficult enough to leave downtown as is, and now this further limits our options!

 

The Old Iron Bridge first opened in 1886, one of the largest bridges built by the King Iron Bridge Company. The historic bridge is on the list of Michigan State Historic Sites, the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.

 

Construction is slated to begin Monday, April 4 and is expected to last through mid-July 2022.

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