City braces for Van Dyke repairs

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 5, 2014

 The sun shines on the intersection of Van Dyke Avenue and 17 Mile Road Dec. 4. 
Sterling Heights city officials say this area of the avenue will undergo reconstruction in 2015.

The sun shines on the intersection of Van Dyke Avenue and 17 Mile Road Dec. 4. Sterling Heights city officials say this area of the avenue will undergo reconstruction in 2015.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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While people reflect on or test out their New Year’s resolutions, a long stretch of Van Dyke Avenue will begin to undergo a revolution, according to Sterling Heights city officials.

During a Dec. 2 City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool said an estimated 30 representatives from businesses in the Van Dyke area attended a recent meeting to stay informed about the project.

According to Vanderpool, a resurfacing project is planned to span from approximately 13 Mile Road to an area south of 15 Mile Road. From around 15 Mile Road to 18 Mile Road, a project involving the complete reconstruction of Van Dyke, its sidewalks and median will take place in 2015, he said.

“It’s really important for residents and businesses to understand the magnitude of this project,” he said.

Vanderpool said the avenue portion to be reconstructed has exhausted its useful life. He said construction work will begin in a matter of weeks, and the Michigan Department of Transportation hopes to complete the roadwork in a year’s time.

Work will begin with the removal of street lighting in January, he said. When the road is being worked on, starting around February, a temporary lane will be installed in each direction, Vanderpool said. This will allow two lanes of traffic to be under construction in each direction and two to be open in each direction, he said.

Besides fixing the roadway, the project will eventually install a complete sidewalk network, and traffic signals will be attached to mast arms instead of cables, he said. The median will be redone, and visual features like monument markers and trees are expected to appear, he explained. Landscaping will be worked on in the spring of 2016, he said.

“You’re going to see a much different look on Van Dyke,” he said.

Vanderpool said that while the project will be very disruptive, Van Dyke will remain open to businesses.

“The businesses will have ingress and egress open throughout the entire project,” he said. “So get ready. You’ll start to see the work soon, and let’s hope it goes smoothly.”

Councilman Joseph Romano said at the end of the meeting that he’d like to see the city find a way to offer relief to businesses that will have their traffic hindered.

“I know we can’t forestall their taxes, but maybe we can give them extensions on those taxes that are going to be due smack dab summertime, as far as the businesses are concerned, without penalty,” he said.

“It’s tough enough to have a business and try to make a few bucks. It’s even tougher when you can’t get access to it, and your taxes are still being put on the property.”

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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