The Modern Nine Main Street Project will be done in three phases and should be completed by 2025. Pictured is construction work from February.

The Modern Nine Main Street Project will be done in three phases and should be completed by 2025. Pictured is construction work from February.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Engineer presents Nine Mile update to Eastpointe City Council

Business owners share concerns about project

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 4, 2023


EASTPOINTE — Construction on the Modern Nine Main Street Project continues.

At the Aug. 1 City Council meeting, Ryan Kern, senior project engineer with Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc., based in Shelby Township, gave a presentation on the current status of the project.

The Modern Nine Main Street Project is the reconstruction of Nine Mile Road in a way designed to create more cohesion along the corridor as well as to improve the travel up and down the street. The project will be completed in three phases that include the installation of a new water main system, a new main gas line and a new road. The project includes Nine Mile Road from Beechwood Avenue, where the Eastpointe city limit begins, to Interstate 94.

“We’re currently in the process of reconstructing the first phase of Nine Mile from the west city limits to Gratiot. That involved the replacement of the water main on the north side of Nine Mile as well as Consumers Energy replacing two gas mains on the south side. That work is complete,” Kern said Aug. 1. “We’re currently working on the road reconstruction phase of the project. We’re hoping to see concrete paving start there next week on the north side.”

Looking ahead, Kern told the council members the engineers are currently finishing up the design of the second phase, which is from Gratiot Avenue to Tuscany Avenue.

“It’s very similar to the first phase. It’s going to be a five lane road, similar to what’s there now,” Kern said. “The project is going to also involve the replacement of the water main. That’s a 12-inch water main. That replacement is going to happen on the south side of Nine Mile, and then Consumers Energy is currently replacing their two gas mains on the north side of the road. Their work should be done here this fall.”

Kern said the water main replacement would take place over “the winter months.” The reconstruction will begin next spring and is expected to be completed by the late summer or early fall of 2024.

The third phase of the project will focus on Tuscany to I-94. The work is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2024-2025 with reconstruction to take place in 2025. Kern added that because the water main east of Kelly Road is new, the water main work will only be from Tuscany to Kelly.

“That would complete the reconstruction of Nine Mile all the way across the city,” Kern said.

The project includes new underdrain for better drainage, new storm sewer facilities, new driveway approaches, and a new sidewalk on the majority of the south side of Nine Mile because of the new water main.

“I walked the job with administration as we looked at areas where we can create more greenspace if possible. On the north side in this next phase there is quite a bit of right of way. We did not need to obtain any additional easements,” Kern said. “On the south side we did have to obtain easements. Quite a bit of the sidewalk is either outside of the public right of way or partially in the public right of way and partially on private property.”

Under the project, the refuge island near the Police Department will be removed. Officials are looking at eliminating several driveways along Nine Mile Road or reducing the width of them. Because of safety concerns, some parking spaces could be eliminated, reduced or moved along Nine Mile Road, which is causing concern among some business owners. There has been talk of installing signs on side streets that would be parking for businesses only.

During the hearing of the public last Tuesday, David DeRonne, of DeRonne Hardware & Rental at 18561 E. Nine Mile Road, addressed the council. The store will be part of the phase three construction.

DeRonne wanted to know if business owners had been notified by city officials about how the project will impact their parking.

“It sounds great in some capacities, for sure, to have new and improved,” he said, but one concern is the trees. “It’s great to have trees out there, but the trees block the business’s signage.”

Local property owner Frank Fazi spoke at both hearings of the public.

“The city cannot just come and take our easement right of way. It is the property owner’s constitutional right. If it is an easement for parking, it needs to remain for parking unless just compensation is paid,” Fazi said. “I’m not asking for new parking spaces.”