Local officials, including Township Supervisor Steve Kaplan, center, and Road Commission for Oakland County Commissioner Ron Fowkes, left of center, gathered on Thursday, Dec. 14, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield.

Local officials, including Township Supervisor Steve Kaplan, center, and Road Commission for Oakland County Commissioner Ron Fowkes, left of center, gathered on Thursday, Dec. 14, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Township, Road Commission celebrate completion of Orchard Lake Road construction

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 22, 2017

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The Road Commission for Oakland County and West Bloomfield Township officials celebrated the completion and reopening of Orchard Lake Road with a ribbon cutting Dec. 14. 

Construction began in early June to make the five-lane road into a four-lane divided boulevard. 

“This boulevard improves safety and improves traffic flow,” said Ron Fowkes, a commissioner with the Road Commission. “Having a separation between northbound and southbound traffic will eliminate head-on collisions and left-turn collisions.”

The project also added sidewalks on either side of the road and improved road drainage. 

Nearly 44,000 drivers use Orchard Lake Road every day. 

Township Supervisor Steve Kaplan said the new Orchard Lake Road is not only safer, but he hopes it will improve business in the area by providing easier and safer access to parking lots for drivers.

“It is a jewel in our community,” he said. 

The reconstruction of Orchard Lake Road cost $7.2 million, and it is part of the larger Northwestern Connector project. The Orchard Lake Road project affected just under a mile of roadway. 

The Northwestern Connector project is a multiyear project to improve traffic flow in the area of Northwestern Highway, near Orchard Lake Road. The project totals about $85 million worth of road improvements in West Bloomfield Township. 

“This is an investment in our community, in our county and our families,” said Fowkes. 

The Northwestern Connector project is funded through a combination of federal and local dollars from the Road Commission, the township and Oakland County through the Tri-Party Program; $2.2 million of the cost was split between the township and the RCOC, and the rest was paid for federally.

“Oakland County roads are some of the safest in the world,” said Fowkes. “Our fatality rate is half that of the state and national averages. If we had the same statistics as the rest of the state, we would have 80 more fatalities (per year) in Oakland County.” 

Landscaping and decorative lighting will be installed in the spring. 

“I have no doubt that this investment here will ensure continued growth in the region,” said Gregory Jamain, vice chair of the RCOC. “Not to mention, it will make the Orchard Lake corridor a lot safer.”