Part of Mound Road is lined with construction barrels just south of 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

Part of Mound Road is lined with construction barrels just south of 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Roadwork schedule shows signs of progress

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 7, 2018

Fall may be on the horizon, but many lanes of Sterling Heights’ roads will remain closed or cordoned off with barrels for several more weeks, according to city officials.

During the Sept. 4 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool listed a bunch of road projects that are either happening or about to happen. Most of them likely won’t be finished until November, when the construction season formally ends.

Vanderpool announced some recent successes with roadwork and related landscaping. One of the biggest projects is M-59/Hall Road, which originally started last year. He said two Sterling Heights welcome signs have been installed, complete with decorative golden rings. The City Council originally approved golden ring signage and art, including a larger marquee ring, along Hall Road late last year for an estimated $339,350. 

The city manager said work on 15 Mile Road, between Schoenherr Road and Mustang Drive, was finished in late August. Schoenherr Road from 15 Mile to north of Metro Parkway was completed in August as well. 

“The project finally is finished up and rides very nice. It is a vast improvement, to say the least,” he said. 

As for current construction, Vanderpool said Dodge Park Road resurfacing from 15 Mile Road to Metropolitan Parkway began the prior week and will be done by around October or the construction season’s end. And he said resurfacing is expected to be imminent on Utica Road from Schoenherr to Dodge Park Road.

About a thousand feet of Metropolitan Parkway, just east of Van Dyke Avenue, near the Home Depot, will also get attention.

“This will be a complete reconstruct in both directions,” Vanderpool explained. “So this will start in late September and will be finished up by the end of November. This is one of the worst sections of Metro Parkway in the city.”

Dequindre Road’s reconstruction, he added, is moving along with a November completion date, though the intersection at 19 Mile Road was expected to reopen very soon. Meanwhile, another resurfacing project is in progress on 17 Mile Road from Dodge Park Road to Van Dyke, and Vanderpool said an additional portion of 17 Mile will be resurfaced from Dodge Park Road to Utica Road.

North Van Dyke Avenue is under construction. Work on Canal Road, between Schoenherr and Van Dyke, is supposed to end this month, and new work is slated to start between Schoenherr and Saal roads, he said. 

Then there is the Mound Road resurfacing project from north of 14 Mile Road to 18 Mile Road.

“Many of you have probably noticed that the worst of Mound has now been repaired,” Vanderpool said. “All the potholes have been replaced with concrete. The milling has been done.” 

However, Vanderpool said the two outer lanes still are not done yet, and “there is still quite a bit to go.” 

Work is also poised to begin on Stadler Road and Sterling Drive this year, according to the city.

In terms of miscellaneous work, Vanderpool said around 30 roads are getting joint sealing repairs to extend their useful lives. The city also had news to report on fixing local roads, adding that work is taking place this year at Angus Circle, as well as Anna Lisa, Chevelle, Chippendale, Groves, Hartwell, Jasper, Monaco, Monterey, Owendale, Sherwood Forest, Sussex Park, Tessmer and Whitby drives.

“We’re on schedule with all of these projects,” he said. “They’re almost all concrete reconstruction projects.”

However, the city is keeping its eye on a possible complication to its overall construction schedule. Vanderpool warned that a “lockout” involving road contractors could put some of the deadlines and timing at risk for certain county projects.

“There is an association that represents all the operating contractors across the state,” Vanderpool explained. “And for one reason or another, they have not been able to finalize a labor agreement, which ... I believe expired on June 30. So, as a result, there was a lockout that took effect beginning this morning.” 

The conflict is between the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association and Operating Engineers 324. A press release from Operating Engineers 324 calls the situation an “involuntary layoff” and not a labor dispute or a lockout. 

MITA Executive Vice President Michael Nystrom called the situation a “defensive lockout” in a press release and denied that it was a layoff. He said the union refused to meet to have talks over a new contract. 

Vanderpool said the city shouldn’t be affected on many of its local projects, but road projects like Mound, Dequindre and North Van Dyke could face a slowdown.

“So it’s really important that the two parties try to get the labor agreement hammered out,” he said. “You could imagine if we had to go into the winter with these projects unfinished. It would not be good, needless to say.” 

After the meeting, Mayor Michael Taylor commented on the road project schedule.

“So far, so good,” he said. “We’ve had a very busy summer for road construction, but the projects are moving along fast. … We’re well into the second phase. A lot of projects have already been completed. They turned out great.”

Taylor praised the two welcome signs on M-59/Hall Road, stating that they look “absolutely fantastic.” He predicted that the larger marquee ring will be set up sometime in October.

Regarding the contractor situation, Taylor said he is optimistic that it will get resolved. 

“From everything I’ve heard and everybody I’ve talked to, we’re still very optimistic that everything is going to get done this season,” he said.

According to Vanderpool, the city already has its plans in place for next year, including the following: Schoenherr between Plumbrook and Canal roads; 14 Mile between Ryan and Dequindre; Utica Road from Dodge Park Road to Van Dyke; Merrill Road; 19 Mile Road from Hayes to Schoenherr; 18 Mile Road; and an estimated $4 million in neighborhood roadwork.

Find out more about Sterling Heights roadwork by visiting the Cone Zone page at www.sterling-heights.net, or by calling (586) 446-2489.