Hall Road to receive mast arm traffic light upgrades

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published December 28, 2016

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Traffic signals are joining crosswalks as future improvements along the Hall Road corridor.

At the Dec. 12 Clinton Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve mast arm traffic signal enhancements along M-59. The project is being led by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The first part of mast arm and crosswalk enhancements will occur along the Hall Road corridor, starting at Mound Road and ending at Dalcoma Drive. That is projected to start in spring 2017 and be completed that year.

Additional upgrades, from Dalcoma to Romeo Plank Road, are estimated to be completed in 2018. Municipalities affected will include Clinton Township and Macomb Township.

The board approved stamped paver crosswalk enhancements at its Nov. 28 meeting, but forewent the approval of mast arm upgrades due to high costs.

On Dec. 7, Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon sent board members a letter stating that he would look into other options to ultimately reach a voting consensus.

He explained that mast arm signals provide a safer design, with little to no movement during windy weather and better road signs to delineate location.

“As all the other communities (of Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Macomb Township, Utica) have participated and it would not put us in a good light, I am once again bringing forward the request to participate,” Cannon said in the letter.

Crosswalks cost the township $98,010, while the mast arms will bring a bill of $260,090.20.

Cannon proposed securing a five-year loan at 2 1/2 percent interest from the state — which has been done on other road projects. The loan payment, as presented, would cost $55,983.60 the first four years, and $51,803.29 in the fifth year.

He added that the Finance Department assured that paying the money upfront or in a five-year cycle would not strain the township budget.

Trustee Jenifer “Joie” West said enhancing traffic signals would be “so much safer” than its current state. Trustee Ken Pearl said that even though the state may not find improvements necessary, all the participating municipalities feel otherwise.

Trustee Joe Aragona said that if the township has the funds, it would be wasteful not to use them in this particular capacity.

Cannon mentioned exploring other alternatives, such as allowing “special” institutions like The Mall at Partridge Creek, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital and Macomb Community College to advertise on Hall Road.

He said that the corridor was constructed many years in advance of places like Partridge Creek. For example, many turnarounds on M-59 are in unorthodox spots because that entire area previously ceased to exit.

But due to state law disallowing such advertisements, Cannon thought that maybe in the future, a sign could be erected near Hayes Road to show where Clinton Township begins.

“Now, the state can design a plan to make it more fluid in the area,” Cannon said.

Moving ahead with these plans makes sense for cohesion, Cannon added. Having old-time, swinging lights one side of Hall Road while Macomb Township has mast arms could look comical, he said.

He also agreed with what Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn said in regard to the perils of walking or biking across Hall Road, saying that the current crosswalks and signals do not alleviate fears as well as they should.

For now, there is an end in sight. The hope is to improve crosswalks and traffic signals from Romeo Plank Road to I-94.