Kent County--The first stretch of the South Beltline from I-96 in Cascade to M-37 near Caledonia officially opened this morning.
The road will serve traffic headed to the airport and other areas where development is growing.
Construction crews working on M-6 finished phase one six months ahead of schedule, earning the construction company a huge bonus.
M-DOT estimates that by 2015, 30,000 cars per day will drive the entire South Beltline when it's done. Compare that to other busy highways: The S-Curve has about 111,000 cars per day. I-96 from 196 to the East Beltline gets 83,000 cars daily. Parts of 28th Street get about 50 thousand cars per day.
In a few years, phase two of the South Beltline will open. That interchange is causing some neighbors, who fear a drop in property value, to sell now.
A developer is expected to buy nearly three dozen nearby homes west of U.S. 131 on 68th street. The township is expected to re-zone the area later this month, allowing for business development. That phase of the South Beltline is scheduled to open in 2005.