By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
Except for a few finishing touches, construction along Southfield Road in two local cities has been completed.
The section between Porter Street in Lincoln Park and Pinecrest in Allen Park has been rebuilt, and the last of the construction barrels have made their exit during the past two weeks. Michigan Department of Transportation crews reinstalled the 40 mph speed limit signs early last week after collecting the 35-mph construction zone signs.
The $16.5 million project included rebuilding the concrete pavement and barriers and utility upgrades on the 1.75-mile stretch that lies between I-94 to the north and I-75 to the south. Crews still are pouring concrete for the driveway to a pump station on the southbound side near the railroad viaduct at Roosevelt Road, but should be finished soon.
“For all intents and purposes we’re gone by the end of the week,” MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said Tuesday. “A lot depends on the weather. We’ll be doing some median restoration, but we’re really back to normal 9 to 5 during the day.”
A sizable portion of the project involved utility relocation work, as a previously existing storm sewer was replaced with a new one. In addition to the sewer work, new power lines were run for traffic signals.
The need for access to local businesses typically results in daily rush-hour traffic slowdowns, and Morosi said while signal timing may be adjusted somewhat, motorists still will not be able to travel southbound from Allen Park to Lincoln Park without having to stop for a red light. About 41,000 cars a day travel that stretch between 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays, comprising about 30 to 35 percent of its overall traffic.
“It’s a business corridor,” Morosi said, “so there are a lot of driveways, a lot of signals, and the signals have to be timed to provide gaps for safety.”
Enhancing safety also was behind a noteworthy change resulting from the project: the installation of a “Michigan left,” or “indirect left” as it’s officially called, eliminating the long-standing direct left turn from northbound M-39 to southbound Dix Road. Drivers now must use the median turnaround just north of the Dix intersection to turn left, but traffic signals there will timed to minimize the likelihood of stopping for two lights.
But the greatest improvement of the reconstruction project, Morosi said, should be the elimination of poor drainage along the road, which caused the need for much of the rebuild in the first place.