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Posted: 10/23/13

County considering
changes to 32 Mile Road

Observer Staff Writer
      On top of signal upgrades, the Macomb County Department of Roads is examining changes to the lane structure of 32 Mile Road.
       Following a meeting with village officials on Oct. 15, the department will study whether changes to the traffic signal at Main Street and St. Clair Street this spring will include going from four lanes to three on the latter road.
       Adam Merchant, traffic engineer with the Department of Roads, said the county is considering whether it will reconfigure 32 Mile Road to be three lanes with a left turn lane and turn signals in both directions. The department will run computer simulations and track the results before making its determination.
       "(The simulation) will show the addition of new left turn signals compared to no turn signals, or going four lanes to three," he said.
       Village President Mike Lee said village and county representatives are working together by the village providing day-to-day observations regarding the intersection, while the county is using data and logistics to reach its conclusion.
       "It's a mixture of the two to make sure it's suitable for safety and code for the Department of Roads and the well-being of the citizens that have to drive it every day," Lee said.
       Merchant said the county will likely finish its studies this week to determine whether the adjustments would be beneficial.
       The changes would affect the traffic signal, which has already been under review by the county for upgrades. The start date for the upgrades is tentatively set for late spring.
       Merchant said the typical traffic signal project costs the county around $120,000, but the Romeo intersection project would likely cost more than $200,000 due to the scope of work and technology required to upgrade it. The Department of Roads will pay for the project since both roads are in the county's jurisdiction.
       "For 32 (Mile Road) and Van Dyke, we would put in an all-new, complete rebuild," he said.
       New equipment for the intersection would include infrared cameras for vehicle monitoring to make it an intelligent signal, meaning it can change timing depending on the volume of cars. A surveillance camera would allow the department to monitor pedestrian and traffic levels.
       Pedestrian crossing would be improved with countdown pedestrian signals as well as push buttons for creating opportune times to cross.
       In terms of aesthetics, Merchant said the black mast arms and signal would be similar to the ones seen at the 25 Mile Road and Van Dyke intersection.
       Lee said there were concerns about the aesthetics of the mast arms style due to Romeo's historic nature, but he said safety and costs took precedence.
       "We'd like to see a little continuity, but I don't want to pay for continuity, especially since the county is paying for everything," he said.
       Merchant said some lights on Van Dyke are synched up to provide easier flow on the corridor, but the 32 Mile Road intersection doesn't have this feature due to the distance between signals on Van Dyke.
       "It's a unique timing signal for Romeo, it runs a little independent of Van Dyke," he said.
       The county is also preparing to install left turn signals at the 30 Mile Road and Van Dyke intersection to ease congestion and improve safety. The $80,000 project is expected to begin in the spring.

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