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Posted: 05/07/14


Above, Adam Merchant, traffic engineer with the Macomb County Department of Roads, shows on a simulation how a three-lane structure on St. Clair Street will improve traffic flow at the intersection of St. Clair and Main streets. In addition, Merchant said the intersection will be one of the most high-tech in the county following upgrades this summer.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Signal, lane changes
down the road for Romeo

Observer Staff Writer
      Village trustees are still struggling with proposed changes to the intersection known as the Four Corners.
       On April 21, Macomb County Department of Road engineers held a presentation for the Board of Trustees regarding lane changes at the 32 Mile and Van Dyke intersection that will reduce the amount of lanes to three.
       Upgrades to the traffic signal, including replacing them with mast arm poles, were also discussed.
       Adam Merchant, traffic engineer, said a study of the intersection revealed that switching from four lanes to three on St. Clair Street (32 Mile Road) will lower wait times at the signal by 35 to 40 percent.
       "We gained back extra operational time to move cars, and that more than makes up for losing a through lane on St. Clair Street," he said.
       He said the study took into account construction projects on M-53, traffic from festivals and the peak hours of traffic, saying they evaluated it far longer than a normal study.
       "It was clearly in the zone area of traffic volumes where it would work better operationally and safety-wise," he said. "There's many, many safety benefits for the left turns to be three lanes."
       Village President Mike Lee said the three-lane structure would mess up access to businesses, saying it would cause traffic to back up as people wait to make turns into alleyways.
       "Right now we don't necessarily have a traffic problem, and if we keep it the same it's not going to affect anything," he said. "But if we do change to three, I do believe we're going to have some more issues."
       Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said the police department has concerns about the lane structure, saying they use the fourth lane to exit their station for emergencies.
       Merchant said the alleyway turning and the emergency access are valid concerns, but the traffic volumes are low enough that it won't be an issue.
       The new traffic signal is scheduled to be installed following the end of school in June. Trustees have questioned the use of large, black mast arms similar to those at the 25 Mile and Van Dyke intersection, but Merchant indicated no other style is available.
       Merchant said the signal will not include left turn arrows for any direction, as the study indicated it was worse in every case to add them, but could be installed in the future.
       The signal will include infrared stop-bar cameras and an Intelligent Transportation System cabinet. A surveillance camera is proposed for the signal to monitor traffic. Eight pedestrian signals with push buttons and countdown signals would be installed, with two on each corner.
       Both roads are owned by the county, so the village will not pay for the signal upgrades or re-striping. The village is considering the purchase of decorative bases for the mast arms.

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