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Eastpointe gets grants for traffic signal upgrades on Nine Mile Road

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 27, 2020

 The city of Eastpointe recently received funding to install several new 12-inch LED traffic lights along Nine Mile Road. They will be similar to the one pictured, which is in operation at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue.

The city of Eastpointe recently received funding to install several new 12-inch LED traffic lights along Nine Mile Road. They will be similar to the one pictured, which is in operation at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue.

Photo provided by Jose Abraham

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EASTPOINTE — Portions of Nine Mile Road in Eastpointe will be getting some traffic signal upgrades next year thanks to grant money recently secured by the city.

Coming from the federal government, the money arrived in the form of three grants processed and awarded by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“I received the official communications on the two applications for federal funding for $1,170,000. The third is $560,000 for safety funding,” explained Eastpointe Director of Public Works and Services Jose Abraham. “I submitted two applications for (Congestion Mitigation and Quality) funding, and the third is safety funding. The first two were approved officially by SEMCOG, and the third was approved by MDOT, who is managing (the project), but all the funding comes from the federal government.”

New traffic signals will go in during the spring of 2021 along Nine Mile Road at the intersections of Beechwood Avenue, Grove Avenue, Donald Avenue, Pleasant Avenue, Schroeder Avenue and Hayes Avenue.

“The modernization entails many things,” said Abraham. “We will be replacing the signal heads with bigger 12-inch ones. They will be LED bulbs instead of traditional bulbs and will thus be brighter and easier to see. The LED bulbs save about 80% in energy costs. LED bulbs are included in small groups instead of one large bulb, so if one goes out, the rest will still function so the signal will never go out because of this. If one goes out, we can replace it long before any other goes out.”

Some pedestrian crossings in the same area will be upgraded.

“We also plan to install better pedestrian signals — those that include countdown timers so they know how much time before they switch — and (they) will be going in at all the same intersections,” Abraham said. “Work on the six Nine Mile locations will begin in March 2021, and it could take about three months. We’re not sure about the timeline for the pedestrian signals yet.”

Abraham said the project is possible because of the grant money, which covers almost all of the cost for these upgrades.

“The Nine Mile project additions will be covered completely by these funds,” he said. “It will cover everything except for design and inspection, which could cost anywhere from $130,000 to $140,000. We also have to match 10% of the $560,000 funding, but this will be split between us and the county.”

Abraham took up his position in Eastpointe in April of 2019. Since then, he has made trying to secure grant money for improvements a priority.

“It’s something I recommended when I took the job,” he said. “I wanted to modernize the signals. There weren’t really any plans for that, but I think it’s a necessary step to improve public safety, and since I was able to find these grant funds to apply for, this was the time to do it and get it done without costing the city a large amount of money.”

City leadership expressed satisfaction with Abraham’s efforts.

“The federal funds received for this project total just over $1.7 million,” said Eastpointe Assistant City Manager Brian Fairbrother. “The city of Eastpointe’s administration and City Council encourage all of our departments to apply for grant money whenever possible, so we’re very happy whenever our residents are going to get an update or modernization on something like traffic lights without costing the city or taxpayers more money.”

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