Construction underway on John R Road in Hazel Park

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 23, 2019

 Deteriorating road conditions are not the only thing being addressed during this construction season’s work on the John R corridor and Nine Mile Road. John R Road is also being narrowed to three lanes as part of a road diet slowing traffic and improving safety and walkability.

Deteriorating road conditions are not the only thing being addressed during this construction season’s work on the John R corridor and Nine Mile Road. John R Road is also being narrowed to three lanes as part of a road diet slowing traffic and improving safety and walkability.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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HAZEL PARK — The John R commercial corridor in Hazel Park has been experiencing a renaissance following the recession. Now, resurfacing and repair work has begun that will narrow the road to three lanes — the idea being that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists will slow down, be safe and better appreciate what the area has to offer.

The resurfacing project for southbound John R Road began May 16 and will span Eight Mile Road to Interstate 75. This will be followed by the resurfacing of northbound John R Road to 10 Mile Road, and the entirety of Nine Mile Road.

Both phases of John R Road are expected to be finished during the 2019 construction season. Work on Nine Mile Road could be moved to the spring of 2020 in the event of a delay.  

For the work on John R Road, traffic will continue to move north and south, and detours won’t be necessary, although drivers can always use Dequindre Road. With Nine Mile Road, at least one lane will be running east and west during the majority of the project.

The overall project for both roads costs $3.2 million. Most of the funding is local, but the city has received a federal grant for $900,000, administered by Oakland County and SEMCOG (the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments), which will cover most of the cost of the improvements on Nine Mile Road.

For the work on both northbound and southbound John R Road, there will be resurfacing and a road diet that narrows the street to three lanes. This includes the addition of crosswalks. Nine Mile Road is a road repair project.

“Due to inclement weather, the trucks using the road and a lack of funding, these roads need the resurfacing or repair,” said Jeffrey Campbell, the city’s community development director. “These corridors will improve travel in the city of Hazel Park. The implementation of a road diet will likely result in safer roads and a more walkable community, and more people being able to appreciate the Hazel Park commercial corridor. People will also feel more confident traveling Hazel Park’s major corridors.”

City Manager Ed Klobucher agreed.

“I’m pleased that we can finally begin to fix our roads. That section of John R is definitely in need of repair. John R functions as Hazel Park’s Main Street,” Klobucher said. “In order for us to attract and retain businesses, John R needs to be in good condition.”

Andy LeCureaux, a member of the Hazel Park City Council and a cycling enthusiast, said that the road diet will help people discover elements of Hazel Park that add value to the community.

“When you go slow, you can see what you miss,” LeCureaux said. “It’s like being a passenger in the car versus driving: When you’re a passenger, you take the same path, but you notice a whole lot more than when you’re driving. So when you slow everyone down, it helps commerce. It also helps with mobility — bikes are part of it, but people are walking more, so it’s healthier too. You have to make room for all modes of transportation.

“People will feel safer moving through the city; businesses will feel better about investing here; and people will feel healthier walking and biking, too,” he concluded. “It’s going to be exciting to have it all done. It’s long overdue.”

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