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Updated Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 10/16/13
A GREEN LIGHT FOR UPGRADES. Above, from left, District 7 County Commissioner Don Brown discusses the improvements that are scheduled for the 30 Mile Road and Van Dyke traffic signal intersection with Department of Roads Traffic Engineer Adam Merchant. The upgrades will include a left turn arrow and cost around $80,000. The project is scheduled for the spring.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
30 Mile Road signal to
receive safety upgrades
by CHRIS GRAYUpgrades to make driving at 30 Mile Road and Van Dyke safer could take place as early as spring 2014.
Observer Staff Writer
Residents such as Paul Ruggirello of Washington Township have tried for years to see if anything could be done to improve safety at the intersection due to the difficulty of making turns at the light. He has lived near the area for 47 years.
"The road was designed for traffic 100 years ago," he said. "There has been no fatality there yet, but if it's going to happen I can see it happening there."
He contacted District 7 County Commissioner Don Brown, asking if a turn signal could be added to the intersection. Brown said he took the idea to the county, and the Department of Roads agreed it is a high priority to address.
"Having turning arrows and properly-timed crosswalks really will help improve safety," Brown said.
Adam Merchant, traffic engineer with the Department of Roads, said after pouring over crash reports and traffic demand studies, the county decided the intersection is a good candidate for a left turn phase.
"It's not something we put in lightly because if it's not the right application it can make things worse, but this, it looks like it'll be a nice improvement to have a left turn signal added for Van Dyke," he said.
The county budgets annual funding for projects like signal upgrades, but has a contingency budget set aside for priority projects that meet certain criteria from field surveys.
This project qualifies under the criteria, and has an estimated cost of $75,000 to $80,000. The project will be paid for by the county since it owns both roads, and will design and install a new signal at the intersection.
"This one is one that we're excited to do and it's somewhere where we think we can make an impact right away, so we're excited about that," he said.
Merchant said due to equipment orders taking anywhere from three to four months, the actual project won't happen until spring or early summer. He said most of the actual project will take place between one to two weeks, but letting concrete settle and other factors will extend it.
"We may have minimal underground work . . . that is the time-consuming part, so it could be one to two months of construction," he said.
Traffic would be maintained during the project, with lane closures only happening for an hour at a time.
The county has upgraded technology at the intersection in the past, including new signal timing optimization that increases the flow of traffic along Van Dyke.
"Having these signals integrated helps relieve congestion . . . by people standing and starting and keeping their cars idling," Brown said.
The signal will be monitored in the new traffic operations center that will be a part of the dispatch center opening in December in Mount Clemens. Merchant said through the intersection's camera, the center can monitor and change the signal timing, such as if traffic is heavier due to an accident.
"We can respond in real time and make it real efficient that way," he said.
Brown said he wanted to see the crosswalk improved as well due to increased foot traffic. Merchant compared crosswalk signals with buttons to hailing an elevator, saying pedestrians are making a request and have to wait for the right time before they can cross.
"We've got a corridor system going, so when you hit it it'll pick a good time to shut down Van Dyke," he said.