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Posted: 02/13/13

PAVED WITH QUESTIONS. Above, in the foreground, Tom Gray of FTC & H and Kim Colburn of Tetra Tech explain some of the improvements that will be made to M-53 this year to Paul C. Stewart of Richmond. A crowd of curious residents and township officials packed the Township Hall on Feb. 11 to voice their concerns and questions about the Michigan Department of Transportation's $15 million reconstruction of M-53 from 34 Mile Road to Bordman Road.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

MDOT's M-53 project to
improve safety in Bruce

Observer Staff Writer
      Residents might have some headaches while traveling along M-53 this year, but traffic safety is expected to be improved in Bruce Township.
       The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will reconstruct M-53 from 34 Mile Road to Bordman Road beginning in March and ending in November.
       Residents had a chance to ask MDOT officials and designers about the $15 million project during an open house on Feb. 11 at the Bruce Township Hall.
       The project will remove the existing pavement and replace it with concrete roadway and 8-foot shoulders. A center left turn lane will be added from 34 Mile Road to 36 Mile Road as well as new right turn lanes at major traffic spots.
       MDOT will also remove and replace several drainage crossings along with creating ditches, enclosed sewers and replacing culverts.
       Steve Minton, MDOT senior contracts project manager, said the project will improve the traffic flow as well as the conditions for businesses in the area by widening the road.
       "It's all going to be a much safer roadway," he said.
       Minton said MDOT will maintain local traffic by keeping two-way traffic going from 34 Mile to Ebeling.
       During improvements to Wilson Drain near Theut Products, northbound traffic will be redirected onto 34 Mile Road, then to McKay Road, then to Ebeling Road before returning to M-53. The opposite route will work for southbound traffic. This detour is expected to run from March or April to late August.
       Another detour will occur during the replacement of the Apel Drain north of Ebeling Road. This detour, which will close part of M-53, will only last for a long weekend.
       Ebeling to Bordman will have two-way traffic by temporarily widening both sides of the road.
       Bruce Township Clerk Susan Brockmann said the project will upgrade the roadway, but more importantly, address the safety of that area.
       "The main thing for me personally is that Ebeling and M-53 intersection is so dangerous right now, and that's going to widen up," she said.
       Sophia Kuzminski was the victim of a traffic collision on M-53 between 34 Mile and 35 Mile in August, and says the improvements are way overdue.
       "What they're going to do now is still not going to fix the problem as far as I'm concerned," she said. "They need to make an expressway straight up."
       Others, like Tom Grab, expressed concerns about the temporary increase in traffic on roads like McKay causing safety problems.
       "I have trouble getting out of my house now because I'm right on the curb," he said.
       Mike Fillbrook of Bruce was more concerned about the county maintaining the roads after everyone uses them as detours.
       "They're talking 18,000 cars a day going down M-53, and they're going to put these cars down side roads," he said.
       Minton said MDOT will monitor traffic flow and may use barricades to keep people on the scheduled detour.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said M-53 will be beautiful when it's done, and asks residents to be patient during the process.
       "I know it's going to be very tough on the people on 36 Mile Road, Brown, the northern part of McKay," he said.
       For more information, contact Mark Koskinen of MDOT at (586) 421-3953 or by e-mail at

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