The highway that makes up Sterling Heights’ northern border will become a Hall lined with construction barrels.
According to a statement from Sterling Heights city officials, the Michigan Department of Transportation planned to start work March 9 on M-59/Hall Road in both directions. The work will entail closing the left lane in both directions while the contractors and road crews work on the project.
At a March 7 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool said he hated to bring up the topic since it would be a miserable one for many people. However, he said the “dreaded” M-59 project is desperately needed.
“Some of you have experienced some of the lane closures already, and needless to say, this project is going to be a big mess for the next year, especially in our community,” Vanderpool said.
At the meeting, MDOT construction engineer Jim Petronski gave a presentation and discussed the plan for the months to come. He said crews had already started preparing for the job, and by the time the $60 million reconstruction project is finished, all four lanes and shoulders to each side of the road will be restored, he said.
The approximately 3.8-mile work zone will stretch from around M-53 to around Romeo Plank Road, Petronski said. He said the reconstruction will replace the road’s existing concrete with hot-mix asphalt.
The bordering communities of Clinton Township, Macomb Township, Shelby Township and Utica will also be affected by the M-59 work. The construction planners foresee keeping three lanes open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. every day and two lanes open 9 p.m.-6 a.m.
Petronski said construction around Sterling Heights is expected to last until around October. After a winter shutdown, enhanced landscaping work will occur in spring 2018, he said.
For the project’s first six weeks — in March and April — only two lanes will be kept open at the M-53 bridge, he said. That time will be used for deck patching and fixing up approaches to the bridge, he said.
Besides the roadway itself, the Hall project will tackle infrastructure related to signals and drainage, and improvements to sidewalks and ramps related to Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. Decorative crosswalks will make the section look more appealing too, he said.
Hall will also receive more pedestrian-friendly improvements through six midblock crossings, four of those being located in Sterling Heights and three of those four being near the Lakeside Mall area, Petronski said. He said the crosswalks will help bring a downtown feel to the area.
He said the corridor carries an estimated 90,000 cars daily, and more than 600 businesses — when including Lakeside Mall and the Mall at Partridge Creek — are accessible within the approximately four miles of affected road. And he said the goal is to have people come to and frequent the corridor’s businesses. He said the corridor is “busier than a lot of our freeways.”
“It’s really the most important corridor in Macomb County,” he said. “If you want to go from the eastern side of Macomb County to (Interstate) 75 to anywhere on the western side, you’re, chances are, taking M-59.”
Melanie Davis, president and CEO of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said her group has held a couple of town hall meetings with MDOT. The chamber invited its business members to come so they could learn what was going to happen with the construction project, she said.
One of the businesses’ main concerns was whether their driveways would always remain open, and they learned that the driveways would, she explained. She said the chamber plans to continue to stay in contact with MDOT, and to inform businesses and the broader public about updates via social media.
“We want not only the businesses to know what is going on, but we want people to be able to share that to the community at large,” she said. “The consumers can know what is going on at Hall Road and how they can access their favorite establishments.”
Davis said the construction will change the chamber’s Grub Crawl plans, which typically involve touring Hall Road in the spring. This year, she said, the chamber will host a “Grub Walk” at the Mall at Partridge Creek April 26 to highlight the restaurants there.