A manhole repair project along Van Dyke Avenue in Warren is causing traffic delays and frustration for drivers.

A manhole repair project along Van Dyke Avenue in Warren is causing traffic delays and frustration for drivers.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Van Dyke manhole project causes traffic frustrations

By: Brian Wells | Warren Weekly | Published October 21, 2022


WARREN — Commuters who use Van Dyke Avenue in Warren might want to seek an alternate route this month.

In early October, construction began on a stretch of Van Dyke Avenue between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads to repair aging concrete around manholes.

“The aging concrete around the manholes can weaken them and cause them to collapse,” said Diane Cross, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project. “That has not yet happened, and we are working to avoid it.”

The work includes cutting the existing concrete around the manholes and removing it, then cleaning up the area, setting new frames and pouring new concrete. After it is poured, the concrete then has to cure.

“Drivers at times may not see any work going on or anyone working and that’s when the concrete is curing and they cannot drive on it,” Cross said.

Factors such as temperature affect the time it takes for the concrete to cure, so it’s hard to say exactly how long it will take, Cross said.  While work is being done, drivers can expect to see lane closures.

If a driver decides to drive across concrete that is curing, crews will have to return to the spot and redo the work, Cross said.

During the first week of construction, Cross said crews had orange barrels blocking off lanes all the way back to the intersection of Van Dyke Avenue and 12 Mile Road. However, as work has been completed, the barrels have moved further north.

While the barrels were lined up back to 12 Mile Road, it caused a lot of traffic through the intersection. Warren Mayor Jim Fouts issued a statement about the traffic, stating anyone who blocked the intersection would be ticketed.

“At the 12 Mile intersection, cars going east and west face an impasse because vehicles are stopped at the intersection heading north making it impossible for traffic going east and west to proceed,” he said in a statement. “Large trucks especially are making it difficult for east-west traffic.”

Additionally, Fouts said any drivers who enter blocked-off construction zones would be ticketed, as well.

“(Oct. 12), two dangerous drivers were so impatient that they drove over the closed construction site causing some additional delay,” he said. “A worker could have been injured!”

While it can be frustrating for drivers, Cross said the repairs required immediate attention before the cold winter weather sets in and the road becomes unusable.

“We know it’s a big inconvenience and causing delays but (we) need to make the road safer for use,” she said.

Currently, the work is only being done on the northbound lanes. Once that work is completed, MDOT will evaluate the southbound lanes.

Cross said the work is expected to be completed by the end of October.