Mohammed Lutfi, left, seated, and Jeffrey O’Brien, both of the Road Commission for Oakland County, listen to the concerns of local residents like Haukur Asgeirsson, back left, along with Jerry Isenberg, center, and Jonathan Landsman, center right; and Bryan Warras and John Katers, from OHM Advisors, Nov. 13 at Orchard Lake Middle School during an informational meeting.

Mohammed Lutfi, left, seated, and Jeffrey O’Brien, both of the Road Commission for Oakland County, listen to the concerns of local residents like Haukur Asgeirsson, back left, along with Jerry Isenberg, center, and Jonathan Landsman, center right; and Bryan Warras and John Katers, from OHM Advisors, Nov. 13 at Orchard Lake Middle School during an informational meeting.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Roundabout slated for Maple/Middlebelt intersection

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 14, 2018

  John Katers, from OHM Advisors, talks with resident Dan Sweda Nov. 13 at OLMS about possible tree and power line issues during construction.

John Katers, from OHM Advisors, talks with resident Dan Sweda Nov. 13 at OLMS about possible tree and power line issues during construction.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Construction of a roundabout at the Maple Road and Middlebelt Road intersection is expected to make for a smoother ride next spring.

“Conditions, congestion and safety, in that order,” are expected to improve, Road Commission for Oakland County Civil Engineer Andrew Peters said Nov. 13 at an informational meeting on the roundabout at Orchard Lake Middle School.

The Maple/Middlebelt intersection improvement project informational meeting included Road Commission staff answering questions about the roughly $5.6 million safety improvement project, which is funded with federal and local dollars, according to a press release.

Local funding is split by the Road Commission, West Bloomfield Township and Oakland County through the Tri-Party Program, according to the release.

The project will include construction of a roundabout at the Maple/Middlebelt intersection, drainage improvements, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant crosswalks, water main replacements, and the replacement of a culvert that carries the Rouge River under Maple Road just east of Middlebelt Road.

Peters said that there is a 10-by-9-foot box culvert about 30 feet down with concrete that is falling apart.

“We are going to tear that out and put in a brand-new 15-by-9 box culvert — it is about 1,000 to 1,500 feet or so away (from the future roundabout),” he said.

Peters said that the Road Commission had looked at a number of various configurations to install at Maple/Middlebelt, and the roundabout was the best option.

“We looked at dual-lane lefts, looked at other signal options, other medians,” he said. “The roundabout was successful in every category between the congestion and the safety.”

He said that one of the best benefits of a roundabout is the safety component.

“This roundabout typically reduces severe fatal crashes up to 75 to 90 percent at this location,” he said.

West Bloomfield resident Valerie Hayman Sklar, who lives in the Franklin Corners subdivision — on the east side of Middlebelt Road, just south of Maple Road — said that the subdivision of over 100 homes has only one way in and one way out, whereas other subdivisions have more than one entry/exit point.

She said that the roundabout will impact her because there is presently no sidewalk on her side of the street, and she has to cross to the other side of Middlebelt Road to get to a path.

“We have no safe way to get across the street,” she said, adding that right now there are two lights at 14 Mile Road and 15 Mile Road. When those lights are red, she can run across the street. That will change, she said, with a roundabout.

“Once they put the roundabout in, there will be a constant flow of traffic. They (Road Commission officials) said there are going to be breaks, but how do we know?”

The 25-year resident added that she feels her opinions are not being taken into consideration — she doesn’t want the roundabout. And while she is not certain what else could take its place, she feels there must be another answer.

Peters said that Franklin Corners is about 2,000 feet south of the soon-to-be roundabout and that residents have experienced a “lot of difficulty” entering and exiting their subdivision.

But he disagrees that a roundabout will not do the subdivision any good — in fact, he feels the opposite.

“With the roundabout, all of that congestion should be gone; they should have no problem making their lefts or their rights,” he said. “Once they experience the benefits of it, I think they are going to be like, ‘Wow, this is a major game changer.’”

Presently, Franklin Corners has a two-lane intersection with a center left-turn lane. Peters said that the roundabout will have two lanes coming in and two lanes circulating around the roundabout.

Jonathan Landsman, the president of Franklin Corners, said it’s tough now to get out when there is a “load of traffic,” especially during rush hour.

He did, however, say that with the roundabout, the flow will be “much smoother.”

“But that means there won’t be a break,” he said, adding that while there will be many more intervals, the intervals will be shorter.

According to the press release, tree removal and utility relocation are scheduled to begin between January and March of 2019 and will involve occasional lane closures; construction is expected to begin in late spring of 2019.   

The release states that the Maple/Middlebelt Road roundabout is expected to be constructed first. The Maple Road culvert, between Glenway Drive and Bloomfield Glens Road, will be replaced once the roundabout is open to traffic, the release states.

The detour for Maple Road traffic during the roundabout/culvert construction will be Inkster Road to 14 Mile Road to Northwestern Highway to Orchard Lake Road, back to Maple Road, and vice versa, according to the release.

The detour for Middlebelt Road traffic during the roundabout construction will be 14 Mile Road to Northwestern Highway to Orchard Lake Road to Walnut Lake Road, back to Middlebelt Road, and back the same way.

The project, in its entirety, is set to be complete by this time next year.

Project meeting information and updates are available at www.rcocweb.org/479/MapleMiddlebelt-Road-2019-Project.

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