Campus detours, bus route changes caused by Laker Line construction

courtesy /

courtesy /

Rachel Matuszewski

From May 6 to Aug. 9, Campus Drive on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus will be closed due to construction of the Laker Line. The Route 50 eastbound bus stop on Lake Michigan Drive and Ferndale Avenue near Meijer will be temporarily closed as well.

“As with any road construction projects, allowing for extra time on your commute is a good plan as construction may cause travel delays,” said Lisa Haynes, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Grand Rapids and Regional Centers.

The Laker Line is a new busing system designed for the efficiency of GVSU students’ commute between the Allendale and Pew campuses, along with the Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences on the Medical Mile. MLive reported that construction for the Laker Line received $56.4 million to fund the project in state and federal dollars in February. The Laker Line will replace the current Route 50. 

“The planning has been going on for over two years,” said Joel Van Ravenswaay, project manager in Facilities Planning. “The new articulating busses will begin operation in 2020. The final configuration of the route will be complete when the new GVSU 333 Michigan Street building is complete.” 

The new method of transportation will help the nearly 80,000 riders who board the bus daily to shuttle between campuses. 

The Laker Line will be operating like a train, but is built for one-tenth of the cost. The vehicles will run on lower operating costs with its longer and compressed frame and need for natural gas. 

Prospective passengers will also receive benefits during their wait, as the new robust covered stations will be equipped with snow melt, real-time arrival information, emergency phones, bike racks and security cameras. Boarding and exiting the bus will be made safer and faster with level platforms, precise bus docking and automated fare payment. 

Travel times will also be reduced with traffic signal priority allowing the bus to make green lights. The Laker Line will also connect with the Silver Line in downtown Grand Rapids, forming a transit network. Finally, students will be able to enjoy their ride and be productive with access to the bus Wi-Fi. 

Haynes said station construction is currently taking place along M-45 and Fulton Street. Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning Karen Ingle said there will also be four stations built on GVSU campuses, including at the Kirkhof Center, Mackinac Hall, Pew Campus and the Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences. 

The two bus stops available for the summer include the north bus stop on Laker Drive between the Fieldhouse and Kelly Family Sports Center and the south bus stop at the Blue Connection. 

For the Allendale Campus, road closures include North Campus Drive between Ravine Center Drive and Calder Drive as well as West Campus Drive between the Meadows parking lot and North Campus Drive. Detour routes can be found on the GVSU website and signs will help navigate students through construction zones.