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 Work on Telegraph Road, which was originally slated to be completed before winter this year, will be continued in the spring, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Work on Telegraph Road, which was originally slated to be completed before winter this year, will be continued in the spring, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Photo by Tiffany Esshaki

Telegraph construction to drag on into spring

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 26, 2018


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — The temperatures are dropping and the ground is getting ready to freeze for the season, which means it’s time to haul the orange barrels away until next year.

But make no mistake: They’ll be back.

Because of a labor dispute in September that delayed construction work on Telegraph Road for weeks on end, the project will be paused — not completed — before the new year, and the Michigan Department of Transportation will be back at it in the spring, when temps creep back up.

Segment one of the project, southbound Telegraph from Orchard Lake Road to Square Lake Road, should be completed this week or next, depending on the weather.

Segment two, northbound Telegraph from Long Lake Road to Square Lake Road, will have maintenance work through the next two weeks, leaving two lanes open and one blocked. That’s the portion that will need some attention next year.

Finally, segment three, northbound and southbound Telegraph at Maple Road, should be finished any day now, according to MDOT. That’s, of course, depending on Mother Nature’s mood.

“The delay in September of almost a month happened right at prime construction time. And weather is an issue on Telegraph, along with a number of projects,” said Diane Cross, the communications representative for MDOT’s Metro Region.

“We’re doing temporary repairs on Telegraph between Long Lake and Square Lake, two lanes northbound, two lanes southbound. Then we’ll come back again to do two lanes again north and two lanes south to get that through the winter.”

Then the gut punch: MDOT will be back on Telegraph Road in the spring to make up for the time lost during the labor dispute between the Michigan Infrastructure Transportation Association, or MITA, and Operating Engineers Local 324 in late summer.

“We know it’s been a very tough time for all the drivers using Telegraph. And while it’s a major inconvenience at times for drivers, we absolutely must do repairs for safety and to extend the life of that freeway … to provide a safe road surface for commuters,” Cross said.

Inconvenience is a kind way to say a big ol’ pain. Sgt. Kim Comerford, of the Bloomfield Township Police Department, said she’s been fielding calls from residents in the area complaining of added traffic in the neighborhoods, presumably from people looking to cut away from the congestion on the main drag.

“(Their complaint) is the extra traffic going through because of the construction, which we have been extra patrolling … but that’s about it,” Comerford said.

She said she hasn’t heard much grief from businesses in the area complaining of decreased customers or problems getting visitors in and out of their driveways.

That was echoed by Joe Bauman, executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, who said he hasn’t heard anything from businesses in the thick of the project at Maple and Telegraph.

For more information on the Telegraph Road project, visit