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Madison Heights

Coming soon: John R reconstruction

Project is a 50/50 split between local, federal

December 27, 2012

» click to enlarge «
A close-up of the intersection at John R and West Gardenia reveals extensive damage.

MADISON HEIGHTS — Major reconstruction of John R is slated to begin this spring or summer in the form of an asphalt overlay between 11 Mile and Dartmouth, north of 12 Mile.

“John R has been in need of construction for some time,” said Jim Schafer, community development director. “We had been addressing it on a sectional basis. As funding has allowed, we have been fixing portions of the entire stretch of John R under the city’s jurisdiction, from 10 Mile to Dartmouth. Some of those repairs had been done with the use of city funds; some had been done with the use of Downtown Development Authority funds.”

This latest project is unique in a couple of ways. 

First, its costs are split between federal funds ($855,000) and city funds (a projected $940,000). The contracted road construction is expected to be nearly $1.6 million, while the engineering, fees, signals and testing will cost another $200,000, giving the project its overall price tag of nearly $1.8 million.

And second, the reconstruction is starting two full years ahead of schedule. Originally, this project was planned to take place in 2015. The Federal Highway Administration provides the funding through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and when several other communities had their projects fall through, the extra funding was bumped up and made available for 2013. Madison Heights jumped on the opportunity.

“We’re very happy that we’ve been able receive the federal grant to be able to move the overlay project up, and we hope this will assist both the businesses on John R and those who live in the area, who make use of this vital artery on a regular basis,” said Jon Austin, city manager. “We already had over two-thirds of our portion when the opportunity became available, because we had been setting it aside in advance.”

MDOT will bid the contractor. Once roadwork begins, three lanes will be closed at a time, with one northbound lane and one southbound lane open. The asphalt overlay job entails underlying concrete repairs, as well.  

Schafer said the roadwork is long overdue, and doing it now ensures the prices are cheaper than they may be years later.

“I’m thrilled that we’re able to do this project years in advance, because obviously anyone who travels John R knows it needs to be repaired,” Schafer said. “It’s not for lack of trying we’ve been doing portions of road repair; it’s because of lack of funding. So we’re thrilled to get this done next year. It’ll go a long ways toward repairing John R in a long-term fashion.”

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