The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) began its major resurfacing project along Pontiac Trail and West Maple Road in Walled Lake on Monday, July 16, but it will be business as usual for the merchants in the area.
“The city is working with the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) now that the city manager is the executive director over the DDA and we’re a more cohesive group,” said Department of Public Works (DPW) Coordinator Lisa McGill. “He (L. Dennis Whitt) is the glue binding the city with the DDA and committed to keeping business owners informed so they aren’t severely affected during this project that is desperately needed.”
Strides have been made by both the city and the RCOC to ensure a smooth transition during road construction.
“We mailed an information flyer to businesses and residents along Pontiac Trail and Maple about what the project is, the schedule, impact, and detour routes,” said RCOC Spokesperson Craig Bryson. “We also held a public information meeting on Nov. 2.”
The Walled Lake DDA likewise held an information meeting for businesses in February.
The roadways have been in a state of disrepair for several years and brutal for motorists to travel. The project was scheduled for 2013, but due to city officials persistently vocalizing their frustration, the project was moved up a year.
“We’ve had a number of people pleased with the project because the road is in such bad shape,” Bryson said.
The city and the DDA are currently exerting a lot of effort placating and assisting area merchants concerned about the potential havoc the project could cause for their businesses.
The city intends to erect signage this week at city entrances stating that all businesses are open during road construction. McGill said the city is also looking at other ways to advertise the businesses so they continue to prosper during the project. Moreover, the DPW is on standby to take care of issues if and when they arise.
“We’re focused on controlling the activities with the road construction and helping the businesses suffering through the process,” Whitt said.
The reconstruction project impacts the stretch of roadway along Pontiac Trail between West Maple Road and South Commerce Road. During the project, Pontiac Trail will remain open, but will be reduced to one lane in each direction. However West Maple Road will be closed at the west side of Pontiac Trail from the start of the project through the end of August. The detour route for West Maple Road traffic will be Pontiac Trail to Ladd Road to West Maple and vice versa.
South Commerce will also be closed at Pontiac Trail for about three weeks, but there is no definitive date set when that will occur. When South Commerce is closed at Pontiac Trail, the detour route for South Commerce traffic will be Pontiac Trail to Decker to South Commerce and vice versa.
West Maple will close at the east side of Pontiac Trail, but not until September.
The project involves a complete reconstruction, where the existing concrete is removed and new concrete is laid on Pontiac Trail from South Commerce to just south of East West Maple Road. In addition, another 1,000-foot section of Maple east of Pontiac Trail will be replaced.
In addition to new concrete, there will be curb and gutter replacement conducted, as well as a new traffic signal configurations installed at the Maple and Pontiac Trail intersection. The railroad crossing will also be removed.
Project costs are estimated at $2.6 million, of which $1.9 million will be federally funded. The balance of $735,000 will be shared by Walled Lake and the RCOC.
“The city can use Tri-party funds to pay for the reconstruction so our contribution will be $78,000,” McGill said.
The project is expected to be completed sometime in November.