Work on a new roundabout at Maple and Middlebelt roads in West Bloomfield Township will begin this summer. While there will be traffic detours during construction, officials hope the end result will alleviate traffic congestion at rush hour.

Work on a new roundabout at Maple and Middlebelt roads in West Bloomfield Township will begin this summer. While there will be traffic detours during construction, officials hope the end result will alleviate traffic congestion at rush hour.

Photo by Deb Jacques


West Bloomfield prepares for work on roundabout this summer

By: Andy Kozlowski | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 3, 2019

 The project includes a new culvert carrying the Rouge River.

The project includes a new culvert carrying the Rouge River.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The intersection of Middlebelt and Maple roads is scheduled for reconstruction into a roundabout, with work beginning next month.

The project will be done in partnership with the Road Commission for Oakland County and West Bloomfield Township. Tree removal and utility relocation at the site have already occurred, prepping the site for this summer’s work, which will be divided into two phases and will start in June.

In the first phase, the culvert that carries the Rouge River under Maple Road just east of Middlebelt Road will be replaced, and Maple Road itself will be repaved from east of the intersection to east of the culvert. Work on the first phase is expected to wrap up in September.

In the second phase, the roundabout itself will be constructed at the intersection of Maple and Middlebelt roads. The work will include drainage improvements, water main replacements, and upgraded pedestrian crosswalks that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This part is expected to be completed sometime in November.

In terms of traffic impact, in the first phase, Maple Road will be closed between Glenway Drive and Bloomfield Glens Road, east of Middlebelt Road, with a detour of Inkster Road to 14 Mile Road to Middlebelt Road, back to Maple Road, and vice versa.

As for the second phase, the intersection of Maple and Middlebelt roads will be closed. The detour for Maple Road traffic will be Inkster Road to 14 Mile Road to Northwestern Highway to Orchard Lake Road, back to Maple Road, and vice versa.

Access to properties along this section of Maple Road will be maintained at all times. Glenway Road will be accessible through the Middlebelt/Maple intersection during the first phase, and via Maple Road east of the intersection during the second phase.

The project costs an estimated $5.6 million, funded by a mix of federal and local dollars, with the local funding shared between the Road Commission, West Bloomfield Township and Oakland County.

The township is contributing $727,000 toward the project, which includes the roundabout work, culvert replacement, sewer work and the construction of a pathway on the north side of Maple Road, east of Middlebelt Road.

“The current culvert … is aged and in poor condition,” said Steven Kaplan, township supervisor. “Attractive, decorative fencing will surround the culvert, rendering it more appealing.”

He noted that the Road Commission conducted extensive traffic studies for the intersection and found that gridlock traffic occurs each weekday afternoon between 4 and 6:30 p.m., mainly on westbound Maple Road, from west of Inkster Road to Middlebelt Road.

“Traffic will flow steadily, with reduced congestion, as a result of the roundabout,” Kaplan said. “Additionally, safety will be enhanced, since motorists will not be speeding or disregarding yellow and red traffic signals while traveling in the roundabout.”

The supervisor acknowledged that the township has “heightened concerns” about the traffic detours that will result between mid-July and early November, when construction of the roundabout will be in full swing. However, he said that most residents appear comfortable and pleased with the township’s four roundabouts, and so he expects this latest one will be well received.

“The severity of injuries and property damage has been substantially lessened, since traffic accidents in the area of the roundabouts are low velocity and intensity,” Kaplan said. “Traffic flow has improved immensely. For example, before the construction of the roundabouts, rush hour motorists frequently had to wait through three complete traffic signal cycles before traveling through the Maple and Farmington, 14 Mile and Farmington, and Maple and Drake intersections.”

Ed Haapala, the director of the township’s Water Utilities Department, said that the water main is simply being relocated outside the road due to the widening of the four quadrants involved, and that the drainage improvements are typical in these types of road-related projects.

“While road improvement projects are known as dreadful to endure, this roundabout project will beneficially serve our community commuters and local Maple Road Fire Department (offices) in the long term, with regards to a better movement of heavy traffic flows through this busy region,” Haapala said.

Amy Neary, the township’s planning director, said that not only will the project allow for improved drainage and upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure, but it will improve safety for pedestrians by bringing the crosswalks into compliance with ADA standards and extending the township’s safety path network.

“The Maple Road and Middlebelt Road intersection has been in need of improvement for a while now,” Neary said. “The benefits that will result from this intersection project will outweigh the short-term inconvenience to the road users during construction.”

For more information on the project, visit www.rcocweb.org, call (877) 858-4804 or email dcsmail@rcoc.org.

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