Traffic study shows township’s hotspots for accidents

By: Thomas Franz | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 4, 2015

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — According to a recent study by the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan, Macomb Township did not feature any road intersections that placed in the top 10 in Macomb County for traffic accidents so far in 2015.

“We can give a lot of that credit for keeping us out of the top 10 to the (Macomb County) Sheriff’s Office,” Macomb Township Clerk Michael Koehs said. “They know where the accidents have occurred over history. As they focus their attention on those areas, hopefully that will help keep people from doing what causes those accidents.”

Macomb Township intersections were featured in two clusters. Three intersections were ranked 12th through 14th, and another trio were ranked 20th through 22nd.

The top-ranked intersection in the township for 2015 has been Hall Road at Garfield, where 35 accidents have occurred, with eight injuries and 27 involving property damage.

Romeo Plank takes the next two spots, with 34 accidents at both the 23 Mile Road and Hall Road intersections.

Hayes Road and 21 Mile came in ranked 20th with 28 total accidents, while Hayes Road at 23 Mile was ranked 21st, also with 28 accidents.

North Avenue at 21 Mile rounded out the notable rankings for the township in 2015 in 22nd, with 27 total accidents and nine injuries.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said that construction on Hayes Road may be a cause for the number of incidents there and on Romeo Plank.

“I think you just look at the volume of traffic that’s going on. You have to take into account that Hayes had a lot of construction going on, so that puts traffic on Romeo Plank,” Wickersham said. “Obviously, the road commission (Macomb County Department of Roads) is redoing the infrastructure and the lights to make traffic flow smoother and help keep people safe. Hopefully, they will continue to work and reduce traffic crashes in the area.”

Koehs added that impatience from drivers may also be a cause for those roads ranking highly.

“You would think that as the volume of traffic increased and got congested, things would slow down and there wouldn’t be so many accidents. As we’re seeing, a lot of these are property damage accidents. What happens in reality is that people get impatient when they sit for two or three cycles of a light; then they just try to make that last bit of yellow,” Koehs said.

The study also provided statistics that ranked county intersections over the past three years combined.

Romeo Plank at Hall Road was ranked eighth in the county with 138 total accidents. Hall Road at Garfield was 10th with 130 total accidents.

Romeo Plank at 23 Mile came in at 12th with 129 accidents, 42 of which involved injuries, a number higher than both township intersections ranking higher for total accidents.

“A lot of times, where the roads have been widened out to the five lanes, you’ll see there’s a lot of accidents in those intersections,” Koehs said. “Where they’re not widened out to five lanes, to me, that’s just the volume of traffic there.”

Wickersham added that as development continues in the township, traffic will also increase.

“I just think overall that we have building going on again, and you have home construction and more businesses and manufacturing, so we’re seeing an increase in traffic with more construction in certain areas. People are trying to get to their destination, sometimes a little faster than they should, so all those things contribute to crashes,” Wickersham said.

Wickersham said his department uses data like this to figure out which areas need more supervision than others.

“Well, obviously whenever there’s statistics, we try to take a look at it and go where we need to go,” Wickersham said. “It’s something that our traffic bureau looks at, and we try to do some proactive traffic enforcement around those areas.”