The Woodward Moves project is scheduled to start this month. The city of Ferndale stated that the early construction will focus on work in the median.

The Woodward Moves project is scheduled to start this month. The city of Ferndale stated that the early construction will focus on work in the median.

File rendering provided by the city of Ferndale

Woodward Moves project expected to begin this month

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 5, 2022


FERNDALE — The Woodward Moves project is gearing up to begin this month in Ferndale.

During its Sept. 26 meeting, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Lena Stevens gave the City Council an update on the current status of the Woodward Moves project with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the city of Pleasant Ridge.

The big focus of Woodward Moves will see the removal of traffic lanes on both northbound and southbound Woodward Avenue and the addition of bike lanes. Originally, the project was scheduled to begin in September, but Stevens said it now will start in early October and be conducted by Ajax Paving.

“(MDOT is) still working on that final construction timeline, but we know that their fall 2022 work is expected to focus on the median,” she said. “It kind of sounds like they’re going to start with their work in the median and maybe work their way out. And so what we think you can expect is that the left lane of each direction — the left lane of the northbound, the left lane of the southbound — will be primarily closed.”

Stevens said people can expect periodic lane closures, with two lanes closed for repairs during the week, some night work and potentially three lanes closed on the weekends.

“It’s important to know that one lane closure is probably going to be most of the time and then we’re going to see periodic closures that restrict the road down a little bit more,” she said.

The cost estimate for the project is $8.7 million. Ferndale’s portion of the cost is $1,176,500; Pleasant Ridge’s portion of the cost is $139,000; and MDOT’s portion is $5.5 million. There will also be $2 million in grants to cover the construction.

Ferndale Department of Public Works Director Dan Antosik stated that other costs not included in those city totals include engineering costs for the different entities. He noted that the project bid came back in line with the cost estimate.

“I imagine (MDOT is) going to try and get as much done this fall, but it all really depends on how the weather decides to greet us this winter,” he said.

Stevens also reviewed questions and comments that she has heard so far from the community on the project, which covered topics ranging from whether the bike lanes will be underutilized to people’s beliefs that the project won’t increase pedestrian safety.

On pedestrian safety, Stevens said the next step is to develop visual materials that demonstrate how a vehicle is going to be able to pull in front of the bike lane and the crosswalk before making a right turn onto Woodward.

“It was like one of the No. 1, first comments we got was, ‘Well, this is all well and good, but it’s still going to be super scary and dangerous to make that right-hand turn onto Woodward,’” she said. “I think with some visual representations, we can show people that this is designed to improve that and a car will not have to nose into the bike lane. In fact, the bike lane will be behind you as you pull out.”

Mayor Melanie Piana added to the discussion that snow removal needs to be addressed in the future for the bike lanes.

“I think that’s part of the new equipment and learning curve,” she said. “Those are some questions I hear about our other bike lanes, but I think it’s going to be a lot more prevalent along Woodward since it’s a direct route to key assets that people want to get to up and down the corridor.”