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Gas main replacement closes stretch of Middlebelt Road through August

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published June 16, 2020

 Road closure and detour signs at Middlebelt Road and Shiawassee Street inform drivers of the road closure ahead. Middlebelt Road is expected to be closed until Aug. 28.

Road closure and detour signs at Middlebelt Road and Shiawassee Street inform drivers of the road closure ahead. Middlebelt Road is expected to be closed until Aug. 28.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


A gas main replacement project by Consumers Energy will close off a stretch of Middlebelt Road, between Grand River Avenue and Shiawassee Street, to drivers June 15-Aug. 28. 

Access to homes and businesses for residents, workers and emergency vehicles  will be maintained through an open northbound lane along the stretch of road. 

Debra Dodd, a Consumers Energy spokesperson, said the gas main currently on-site “is a vintage main, and it’s time for it to be replaced.” 

Consumers Energy will be replacing the 10-inch steel high-pressure main there now with a new 10-inch steel high-pressure main, making it “an even exchange in terms of size of the main,” Dodd said. 

“We want to make sure reliability continues to be there for our customers, so that’s why we’re replacing it.” 

Previous work along Middlebelt Road, between Grayfield Street and Nine Mile Road, considered phase one, began in April, with the road reopening to traffic in June. The work slated through August is considered phase two of a multiphase approach to replacing 7,300 feet of gas main along Middlebelt Road. 

Dodd said “this is the last phase of this kind of reliability project that we’re doing in the area.” The new main should be operational by October 2020. The project costs about $13 million Dodd said. 

With a portion of Middlebelt Road, which carries approximately 14,000 vehicles daily, according to the Road Commission for Oakland County, closed to through traffic through late August, Road Commission Public Information Officer Craig Bryson expects traffic disruptions and possibly delays. 

“There’s definitely going to be a disruption,” he said. “One of the fortunate things is, I think, traffic is still a bit lighter because of the coronavirus, so the silver lining of that I guess is there’s a little less disruption than there might ordinarily be. 

“At peak times, like the morning and evening rush hour, there will probably be some backups on the detour route or (maybe) even on some parallel roads. … During non-rush hour times it shouldn’t be significant, but during rush hours times it may be delayed.” 

The detour route will follow Grand River Avenue to Orchard Lake Road to Nine Mile Road, and then back to Middlebelt Road, and vice versa. 

Bryson said the Road Commission works closely with utility companies to try to avoid road closures unless absolutely necessary, but in this case the closures were necessary. 

Other than possible traffic delays, Dodd said, nearby residents may also be impacted by possible delayed restoration on their properties. With the project running through October, Consumers Energy may not be able to restore lawns before it gets too cold. Any lawn restoration projects not completed this year will be completed by the company next spring. 

“A lot of the work we do depends on weather. If we get long stretches of good weather, sometimes we can get completed a little early. If we have inclement weather, maybe we can’t,” Dodd said about the project’s overall timeline. “I would say expect it to be operational by October and we’ll have to see how the weather holds up.” 

Call Staff Writer Jonathan Shead at (586) 498-1093.