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Roundabout completed at Maple/Middlebelt intersection

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 1, 2020

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Life may now be easier for some motorists, after the Road Commission for Oakland County opened the Maple Road and Middlebelt Road roundabout in West Bloomfield.

The project began in September 2019.

For this year’s work, Maple Road had been closed at Middlebelt.

The project also included the replacement of a culvert — a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad or trail from one side to the other — east of the intersection and raising the elevation at the culvert to improve sight distance.

The project cost approximately $6.6 million. According to a press release, it was a “safety improvement project” that was funded with a mix of federal and local dollars.

The Road Commission, West Bloomfield Township and Oakland County all contributed to the funding through the Tri-Party program.

Aside from the construction of the roundabout at the Maple/Middlebelt intersection, the project also included Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant crosswalks with High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk beacon, known as a HAWK beacon, at the roundabout; drainage improvements; water main replacements; “behind the curb” restoration; and permanent street lighting.

According to the release, the Maple/Middlebelt intersection carries approximately 31,000 vehicles per day.

Weather had put a damper on the opening of the Maple Road/Middlebelt Road roundabout, which had originally been expected to reopen in late November.

The intersection itself had been in “terrible shape,” Road Commission spokesman Craig Bryson said in September. “The concrete in the intersection was just crumbling, so something had to be done.”

Bryson said previously that a Road Commission staff analysis had determined that a roundabout would help in several ways.

“First, roundabouts can provide greater capacity at the intersection, so you get more cars going through the intersection than a signalized intersection to reduce congestion,” he said.

Bryson said roundabouts are also safer than signalized intersections.