MDOT gets okay to work nights, weekends on 2017 Grand River project

A major road project that will stretch along Grand River through downtown Farmington should move a little more quickly now that city officials have agreed to allow work during nights and weekends.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will mill and resurface Grand River from Sinacola to Purdue Street, reducing portions of the road from four lanes to three, adding parking spaces east of Grove Street and a bike lane between Shiawassee and Farmington Road. The project also includes concrete repairs, installation of signals, and bringing sidewalk ramps up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

In a memo, traffic operations engineer Courtney DeFauw said MDOT is “trying to minimize the overall impacts to the downtown Farmington area” by limiting lane closures to off-peak hours and working around special events.

The project will move east in four stages:

  • Sinacola Street (near Sellers Buick GMC) to Shiawassee Street
  • Shiawassee to Farmington Road
  • Farmington Road to Grove Street
  • Grove Street to Purdue Street (east of West River shopping center)

MDOT expects “minimal” night paving in the residential area between Shiawassee and Farmington Road. In addition, DeFauw wrote, the contractor will use static rolling, which reduces noise.

While multiple lane closures will affect all segments, MDOT will restrict work during Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. All sidewalk ramps from Shiawassee to Power Road will remain open to pedestrian traffic for the Memorial Day parade in May and Art on the Grand in June. MDOT plans to remove traffic controls between Farmington Road to Grove Street during the annual art festival.

Lane closures near downtown will also be limited during the Founders Festival in July and the Harvest Moon festival in September.

City officials pointed out the need to ensure that information about the wide-ranging project spreads throughout the community.

“I think all the residents need to be notified about what’s coming up this summer,” council member Steven Schneemann said. He suggested a message included with city water bills. “Communication is really important to make sure that people aren’t blindsided by this, and they know that everything is still open for business and Grand River will remain passable during that time.”

Council member Sara Bowman said it’s important to remember the outcome, despite the inconvenience.

“This is a really cool project. It’s adding that bike lane. It’s adding some parking aspects, and it’s necessary,” she said.

While no firm dates have been announced, bid letting information in a meeting agenda posted on the State of Michigan website indicates the project may begin in mid-April.