Plans Firm to Make Rochester Rd a Boulevard

Construction photo source: rcocweb.org

by CYNTHIA KMETT

It’s going to be busy with road construction in Troy for the next few years. Dequindre is currently being widened and will finish in late 2018, John R will follow and be widened by 2019 and then it will be Rochester Road’s turn for an update. While Dequindre and John R will just be four lanes with a center turn lane, Rochester will be an extension of the boulevard that now ends just north of Wattles.

There is good construction news this week. Before Labor Day the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) expects to have South Blvd and the new Livernois turn lanes open to through traffic.

So here is what to expect on the construction front. Dequindre, a $16.5 million project is being widened to four lanes with a turn lane in the middle. Construction is expected to start this fall with work being done as weather permits. While most of the road will be open during construction, there will be some closings necessary at Square Lake and Dequindre. It should be expected to finish in November 2018.

As Dequindre concludes similar construction will begin on John R. That project will finish in 2019. Both projects might take a bit of additional work the next calendar year.

Rochester Road construction will not even begin until 2020. Right now, however, the city has had to update its environmental study for the area. The original study, points out Deputy City Engineer Bill Huotari, was done in 2006 when the first widening of Rochester was in the works. The plan was that when the first phase of widening was completed, the city could move on to the second phase, which we are now planning. An environmental study is only good for three years, so by 2009 there was a recession that caused projects of this nature unable to get federal funding.

But times are better and this is an $18 million project that does have federal funding, Huoari says. The study has been completed and once public comments are added, it will be submitted to the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). Approval should be available by the spring of next year, which means the city can start right-of-way acquisition.

There are some obstacles in the way here. The new road will have three lanes in each direction with a center grass median, just like you see to the south. The widening will go from Barclay Drive, north of Wattles, and end at Trinway Drive, about a quarter mile north of Long Lake. Huotari notes that there is so much traffic congestion in this area that while business owners aren’t looking forward to construction, that are looking forward to customers being able to make a cross traffic turn. Plans call for maintaining traffic during the construction.

There are homes on the construction map that have a line for the road right through them, and businesses that will have parking cut to a bare minimum. While it is almost impossible to keep the city from acquiring needed property because it can be claimed for the public good under eminent domain, property owners are free to go to court and ask for more money for their loss of either business and land, or their home.

Construction can begin in 2020 and that first usually involves the relocation of private and public utilities. Rochester Road will be three lanes of concrete (with curbs and gutters) in each direction, complete with new driveways and ADA sidewalk ramps to eight-foot sidewalks, and even new lighting.

The plan is to have the road open in the fall of 2021, with cleanup and restoration done in the summer of 2002.

If you can have questions or concerns about the Rochester Road project, you can send them to Bill Huotari at: HuotariWJ@troymi.gov.