PHILIP KITTELL JR.
MDOT wraps up $15
million M-53 project
by CHRIS GRAY
Drivers can cruise M-53 with ease now that a multi-million dollar state project is down to the finishing touches.
Observer Staff Writer
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has finished the reconstruction of M-53 from 34 Mile Road to Bordman Road as of Nov. 15, providing wider roads, better drainage and safer intersections.
The $15 million project removed the existing pavement and poured new concrete roadways with 8-foot shoulders. It also added center left turn lanes from 34 Mile to 36 Mile roads and lanes for passing at areas like Bordman or 37 Mile Road to reduce rear-end accidents.
Drainage was also improved during the construction, such as replacing the Wilson and Apel drains and creating ditches.
MDOT Senior Project Manager Mark Koskinen said the project, which began in March, only has aspects like planting trees and painting permanent lane markers to complete. Both activities have to wait until the spring.
"In the end it turned out good," he said. "We've finished up and got everything done."
The project was pushed back from its October completion date due to a rainy spring and early summer, but workers picked up the pace as the weather broke for the remainder of the season.
MDOT added temporary traffic signals at 34 Mile Road and Ebeling Road during the construction. Bruce Township Supervisor Richard Cory said residents were quite happy with the signals and hopes MDOT will install permanent lights.
"It's so hard to pull out onto those two streets during rush hour," he said. "Maybe down the road if we have more traffic, maybe we can do something."
Koskinen said when MDOT conducted studies on the two intersections they didn't qualify for installing permanent lights. He said, though, that MDOT could re-evaluate the intersections.
"We're always open if people want to call, and we'll re-visit it in the future," he said. "If volumes increase, they might meet criteria."
Koskinen said complaints from residents mainly occurred during the beginning and end of the project, but overall residents were patient.
Cory agreed, saying 99 percent of residents were patient during the lane closures and detours the project caused.
"Everyone was pretty patient, we got through it," he said.
Koskinen said he was unaware of any major reconstruction along M-53 in the northern end of the county, but drivers can expect the typical patching projects.