M-139 construction hurting surrounding businesses

NOW: M-139 construction hurting surrounding businesses

ROYALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The construction on M-139 in Berrien County continues and it’s creating a barricade not only for drivers, but some of the surrounding businesses as well.

MDOT is replacing a culvert under M-139 which requires rebuilding a section of the road at Buckhorn Creek.

“People think there’s nothing going on around here, but there’s quite a few businesses in this area,” said Bruce Hutson, owner of Big Little Antiques.

In a given day, thousands of drivers use the highway, but for the past month, businesses say it’s never been so quiet. 

“Everything started on July 6th and it goes to the end of September and all of the traffic has been routed down Linco and then around to John Beers, so we have traffic missed from both sides,” said Darlene Kuhens, owner of Mel’s Café.

While business owners said they were notified by MDOT ahead of construction, they’re a bit surprised it’s gone on this long. 

“We thought they were going to do half of the road and then do the other half so we’d have traffic coming through, but they shut the road down completely and isolated us,” said Hutson.

They’ve even come up with their own ways to let customers know they’re still here. 

“We had a local sign company make signs that let people know our businesses are open and they can come through the barricades to get to us,” said Kuhens.

They hope people will go a little out of the way to support small businesses that have already struggled this past year. 

“We’re trying to reach out to everybody and let them know we are out here,” said Hutson. 

MDOT said the entire closure will likely be in place until the project is complete in September.

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