2013 road schedule to expand commerce, ease congestion

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 29, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — They may cause congestion now, but plans to widen and improve roads in Shelby Township are set for 2013, and they bring with them hopes for smoother sailing in the future.

There are 24 projects on the slate for the Macomb County Department of Roads in 2013, and four are set to take place in Shelby Township and Utica.

“Our board has been very focused on new construction and repairing of roads in the last four years,” Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said, noting that since 2008, the Township Board has authorized roughly $4.5 million for roads.

The first project in the county for 2013 is the total demolition and reconstruction of Auburn Road, between Ryan and Dequindre roads, which kicks off Feb. 4 and is estimated to run until mid-July.

“It’s going to be very inconvenient on residents and a hardship on our businesses,“ Stathakis said of the Auburn Road closure. “However, when that project is finished, I’m confident that everyone will say they were glad it was done.”

Also on the schedule for 2013 are plans to widen Van Dyke to five lanes from 25 Mile Road to 26 Mile Road, and to widen Hayes Road to five lanes between 21 Mile and 23 Mile roads. Both of those projects are slated to start in late spring and run until the fall.

“Obviously, it will help with congestion, particularly on Hayes,” Shelby Township Planning Commissioner Glenn Wynn said. “But, as you come down Van Dyke, it’s not fully developed there yet, so we’re anticipating it before it gets congested.”

In the other project, officials are hoping to see more traffic congestion, rather than less, as the county is set to finish the hike and bike trail through Utica and into River Bends Park.

“We have all the permits and the necessary documentation to start there,” MCDOR Director Bob Hoepfner said of his crews’ ability to finish the project, which was derailed in 2012 because of a need for proper permission for a railroad crossing on the trail.

The hike and bike trail project is slated to start in May and run until September.