Local road projects cruising toward completion, MDOT officials say

Sunday Times Newspapers

Major road projects in the Downriver and Dearborn areas are moving along as scheduled, Michigan Department of Transportation officials say.

The $16.5 million construction project of 1.75 miles of Southfield Road between Porter and Pinecrest still is on schedule for November completion, department spokesman Rob Morosi said Wednesday.

The project began in September. Most of the winter was spent installing a new drainage system and new water mains, and paving currently is under way of the two left lanes in each direction.

Morosi said a switch of traffic to those lanes is in expected to take place in early to mid-June, when work to reconstuct two right lanes will begin.

While the left lane paving has gone fairly quickly, he said, rebuilding the right lanes will be “a little inconvenient” and will take a little longer in order to allow for access to businesses. Access to all businesses will be maintained throughout the project, Morosi said.

Whereas crossovers could be closed and moved during reconstruction, driveway access will be maintained throughout the project duration, although some lots with multiple driveways will see at least one driveway closed for brief periods.

Speaking of crossovers, the new ones installed in the left lanes will be ready for use when the lanes reopen next month.

One will mark a big change for Downriver drivers, who no longer will be able to make a direct left turn onto Dix from northbound Southfield and instead will have to make an indirect turn — or Michigan left — using the new crossover. Morosi said the end result will be worth it, however, and that the drainage issues that plagued the stretch for years and contributed to its poor condition finally will be put to rest.

“It’s something I’m sure everybody will be pleased with when we’re done,” Morosi said. “It was well needed.”

He foresees the same reaction to the $3 million project up the road to resurface the Southfield Freeway from Ford Road to McNichols. The 6-mile-long project is limited to nights and weekends, mostly the latter, Morosi said, and is being paid for with $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money.

To the west, a 2 1/2-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue between Outer Drive and Brady also is moving along well, he said, although it’s slightly more complicated than simply paving a road.

That’s because workers who have had to remove bad sections also have paid a lot of attention to making sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a portion of the project that also uses federal stimulus dollars.

All traffic is being shifted over to eastbound lanes on south side of the road, Morosi said, with single lane running in each direction. Paving has started on some westbound lanes and center turn lanes.

Most of the route has no driveways to complicate the process, he said, but workers still are trying to pave intersections at night to allow for curing.

The $2.1 million project was delayed a year or so by work by the city of Dearborn on the combined sewer overflow project. The target date for completion is mid-July in time for the Homecoming, though crews still will be working on some “odds and ends” after that.