A large water main project that took two years to complete in Battle Creek will now have the wounds wiped away with a major Michigan Department of Transportation project.

After the initial 2019 project on East Columbia Avenue forced major traffic shifts between Riverside Drive and Capital Avenue Southwest, more shifts came last summer to finish connecting businesses into the new line. What remained were several asphalt patches all over the small stretch.

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Those patches will be a thing of the past, and so will multiple cracks and potholes that stretch along both East and West Columbia due to continued wear-and-tear.

MDOT announced on April 19th that Columbia Avenue, also known as the M-96 trunk line, will be repaved beginning Monday, April 26th, from Helmer Road to Tyler Drive. It's scheduled completion date is Friday, August 27th. Single lane closures will return to the small stretch of East Columbia between Riverside and Capital Avenue Southwest for the third straight summer, but this now includes 2.8 miles of repaving along Columbia that connects M-37 (the most southern point of Michigan's longest trunk line), improves sidewalk ramps for ADA compliance and visible pavement markings. The east end of the repaving will stop just short of the connector to M-66 (I-194). The invested cost of the project is at $1.4 million.

The repaving may also take some time before it actually begins. A new water system project in Battle Creek is also set to begin on Saturday, April 24th, that will involve several projects along West Columbia through the Lakeview area. The four-phase project is expected to conclude after two weekends. It may be likely that the repaving project will start on the east end though it has not been confirmed.

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