SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A construction project closing Dequindre Road between Avon and Parkdale roads will facilitate a safer crossing for pedestrians using the Macomb Orchard and Clinton River trails, which connect Shelby and Rochester.
The project was set to begin April 28 and, pending weather, is scheduled to conclude by the end of May, with Dequindre reopening around May 16. It will create a concrete island in the center of Dequindre Road so pedestrians can cross one side of the street at a time.
The crossing was hazardous because of drivers’ speeds of more than 45 mph, limited sight due to the topography of the road and high usage of the trail.
“(Dequindre is) two lanes. I don’t think there’s even a turn lane at that point, so you really do have to wait for both sides of traffic to be clear,” Shelby Township Deputy Supervisor Brad Bates said. “Depending on the time of day, you have to make a mad dash across.”
A traffic detour for the nearly three-week closure is set for 23 Mile Road to Shelby Road to 24 Mile Road back to Dequindre Road, and vice versa.
“There was truly a safety concern at that crossing for the longest time. Hopefully, this will prevent any accidents,” said Carol Thurber, an engineer with Fazhal Khan and Associates.
Originally, the contractor and engineers planned to do the project in stages and not close Dequindre Road.
“At the preconstruction meeting last fall, the contractor made a proposal that, if he was able to close the entire road, he could do the construction more efficiently and cut about three weeks off of construction and, instead of paving in stages, do the whole thing at once,” Thurber said. “It just makes for a better job.”
On Feb. 25, 2013, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees voted to allot not more than $20,000 for the project. Shelby Township and Rochester agreed to fund half of the local match portion of the project — approximately $15,543 each. The rest of the cost of the $193,000 project was offset by an MDOT transportation grant and tri-party funding, which includes Rochester, the Road Commission for Oakland County and Oakland County.
Thurber said the pedestrian island is one of the first steps to complete Shelby Township’s portion of a 70-mile trail loop around Macomb County.
After a $500,000 federal grant to connect Shelby Township and Utica trails fell through due to unexpectedly high bids, township employees salvaged what funding they could, including the $20,000 for the Dequindre crossing, to complete trail connections.
The township secured roughly $177,000 in funds already earmarked for trail improvements, as well as part of a state grant in the amount of $108,543.62.
Thurber said the township is still in the process of attaining one more MDOT grant to connect Dequindre to Gene Shepherd Park. She said the trail from River Bends Park to the Utica trail will be constructed this summer and then, as money allows and as grants can be obtained, they will continue to connect River Bends Park to the Macomb Orchard Trail.
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