WEST BLOOMFIELD — Drivers looking for a smoother ride with more turn-lane options may not have to look far after the township Board of Trustees voted unanimously May 20 to widen and resurface the Maple Road-Orchard Lake Road intersection.
The Road Commission for Oakland County board recently approved the agreement, which consists of the construction of dual left-turn lanes at the intersection from northbound to westbound traffic, and for westbound to southbound traffic; the addition of a right-turn lane for traffic traveling southbound on Orchard Lake and turning westbound on Maple is also included, Richard Barr, chairman of West Bloomfield Road Committee, said during the meeting.
“In 2009, we negotiated a joint venture agreement with the township and the Road Commission,” he said. “We got the road repaved, (but) that was intended as an interim measure … to determine the long-term destiny of Orchard Lake Road.”
The intersection will also be resurfaced with asphalt; the work is expected to happen in 2015 or 2016, according to a Road Commission press release.
Barr said the project on 14 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Maple will be a “major disruption and major improvement” that will cost about $14 million; of that, the township will pay $1.9 million in construction costs over the course of the project.
That intersection will be reconstructed into a four-lane boulevard to prevent traffic incidents and fatalities.
“For many years, (the) road has been a five-lane road that is a death trap for many, many dangers,” he said.
During the meeting, Treasurer Teri Weingarden described the roads as “a war zone.”
The intersection project is part of the Northwestern Connector project, which is intended to “improve roads in order to reduce congestion in the area around where Northwestern Highway dead-ends at Orchard Lake Road, just north of 14 Mile Road,” according to the press release.
The Northwestern Connector project is a “cooperative transportation project” administered by the Road Commission in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation, West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills.
Craig Bryson, public information officer for the Road Commission, said the first phase of the project included constructing roundabouts at the Maple Road-Farmington Road, Maple Road-Drake Road and 14 Mile-Farmington Road intersections.
The next phase of the project involves constructing a roundabout at the intersection of 14 Mile and Orchard Lake in 2014 and realigning the 14 Mile-Northwestern Highway intersection, followed by the reconstruction of Orchard Lake Road from 14 Mile to south of Maple as a four-lane boulevard, as well as the Maple-Orchard Lake intersection project.
“It fits in with the township’s future plans for a walkable business district and address traffic needs at the same time,” Bryson told the Beacon recently. “We are doing as much as we can to relieve congestion.”
For more information, go to www.rcocweb.org or www.nwconnector.com.
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