A $2 million grant will help fund an environmental assessment for a potential future widening and reconstruction project along Adams Road, between Walton and Hamlin.

A $2 million grant will help fund an environmental assessment for a potential future widening and reconstruction project along Adams Road, between Walton and Hamlin.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

$2 million federal grant to further study widening Adams

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published October 20, 2020


ROCHESTER HILLS — The Road Commission for Oakland County has been awarded a $2 million grant to help complete an environmental impact statement on the future proposed widening of Adams Road in Rochester Hills.

The grant is part of $1 billion in funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development program to support infrastructure projects nationwide.

Road Commission Board Chairman Greg Jamian said the commission was thrilled to learn it was awarded a $2 million BUILD Grant, which he said will help to pay for an “extensive environmental assessment” to study widening Adams Road between Walton Boulevard and Hamlin Road.

“Our perseverance in pursuing grants has paid off again for Oakland County residents,” Jamian said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the city of Rochester Hills, Rochester Hills residents and businesses, Oakland University, and other stakeholders to move forward with this study. We are extremely grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for selecting us to receive this grant and to Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow for supporting the grant application.”

Rochester Hills Public Services Director Allan Schneck said the Road Commission, the city of Rochester Hills and Oakland University entered into an agreement in 2018 to complete an initial study of 2.22 miles of Adams Road — from Hamlin to Walton — to assess concepts to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, accommodate pedestrians and improve traffic flow.

The study, he said, was completed in 2019.

“At this very early stage in accessing options, a four-lane boulevard with a narrow median was the preferred option, but this BUILD grant will allow further investigation,” said Schneck.

The BUILD grant will fund the preparation and completion of an environmental assessment for the potential future widening and reconstruction project along Adams. The assessment, he said, will consider the best improvement options for areas of high crash occurrences — including geometric and physical condition enhancements to the intersection, such as adding a roundabout.

The project is adjacent to several hubs of economic activity, including residential, commercial and academic institutions.

Officials said having a more efficient transportation corridor along Adams Road with less congestion and new safety measures will generate economic competitiveness, increase quality of life benefits, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The reconstruction will also increase capacity and improve traffic flow through the intersections and add sidewalks/paths on both sides of the roadway, according to officials.

The environmental assessment, Schneck said, is expected to cost approximately $2.5 million — $2 million from the BUILD grant and $250,000 each from the city of Rochester Hills and the Road Commission.

“It’s another great example of a partnership with the Road Commission for Oakland County and the ability to really leverage city funds to move projects and initiatives forward,” said Schneck.

Road Commission spokesperson Craig Bryson anticipates that the environmental assessment will be a multi-year effort.

“The assessment itself will probably take 18 months to two to three years, depending on a lot of factors. It’s a lengthy process that in and of itself does not guarantee construction dollars. So once we’ve finished that, depending on the outcome, if we decide to move ahead with the project, we would then have to pursue actual construction dollars — which would probably (be) federal funds,” said Bryson.

This round of the BUILD grant program — which helps fund road, bridge, transit, rail, port and intermodal transportation projects — supports 70 projects in 44 states.

The state of Michigan has been awarded more than $10 million in federal grants for transportation and infrastructure improvements — including the $2 million grant to study Adams Road, as well as a $8,333,600 grant for the Michigan Department of Transportation to replace outdated traffic signal systems across the state.

Officials said the BUILD grant program selection criteria encompassed safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, environmental sustainability and innovation factors, as well as partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders.