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Sterling to resume road projects

Officials seek signals to make left turns at Schoenherr-Moravian safer

Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 1, 2020

 Traffic signal alterations could soon lead to safer left turns at the Schoenherr Road and Moravian Drive intersection, Sterling Heights officials say.

Traffic signal alterations could soon lead to safer left turns at the Schoenherr Road and Moravian Drive intersection, Sterling Heights officials say.

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Sterling Heights’ roads may have fewer vehicles on them than usual at the moment, but city officials are not letting the COVID-19 pandemic thwart an expected busy road construction season. 

During the April 21 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool gave an update on 2020 road construction plans, adding that this year promises around $15 million worth of improvements.  

“Believe it or not, all of our road projects are on schedule,” he said. “Of course, we're receiving very few complaints right now because there's very little traffic on the roads. But know that the projects are going on.”

Among the projects Vanderpool listed, the city is planning to do some landscaping and grading on 14 Mile Road between Ryan and Dequindre roads, and that should be done in the weeks to come.

Summer projects will include resurfacing projects on 18 Mile Road between Ryan and Dequindre, on Hayes Road between 14 Mile Road and Moravian Drive, on Schoenherr Road between the Plumbrook Drain and north of Clinton River Road, and on Utica Road between Hayes and Schoenherr roads.

Vanderpool said neighborhood road projects will resume in May on an assortment of Sterling Heights streets.

“Residents can go to our Cone Zone site to get the latest information on all of our roadwork activity,” Vanderpool said.

While it’s not road construction, an additional project will affect traffic in the months to come. During the same meeting, the City Council also approved a proposal to pay $50,000 to the Macomb County Department of Roads to modify the traffic signal apparatus at the Schoenherr-Moravian intersection.

Vanderpool said he wasn’t certain about the project’s timeline, except that it will happen this construction season. He called it a “relatively easy” project that will add new four-phase signals, which will allow safer left turns for cars heading off of Moravian.

Vanderpool said Sterling Heights will only pay around $50,000 out of the project’s estimated $200,000 total. The county will work mostly in-house to enhance the intersection, such as by lighting up street name signage and adding a countdown at pedestrian crossings, he said.

“Actually, all the signals will be replaced,” Vanderpool said. “They will not be mast arm, so the construction will go quickly.” 

Councilwoman Deanna Koski asked whether the county has the right to later change how the light operates, being that the city isn’t fully paying for the enhancements. Vanderpool said he didn’t know for sure, though he would try to get a confirmed answer later. He suspected that the county would be able to change the signal’s function under certain circumstances.

“But it would have to be based on scientific data — in other words, you know, traffic counts,” Vanderpool said. “There would have to be a significant change in traffic volume at that intersection to warrant any sort of change whatsoever.”

Councilwoman Maria Schmidt praised the intersection proposal, adding that she has been fighting for a change at the intersection for 12-15 years. She said the idea has been in the works for a long time, but it was “put on the backburner” after the 2008 financial crisis.

“I’ve lived here over 25 years, and that intersection has terrified me ever since I've moved in, so I'm very, very excited to have this final piece of that intersection puzzle put into place,” Schmidt said.

Find out more about Sterling Heights’ Cone Zone page by visiting

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