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Posted on Sun, May 20, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor road construction: Frustration mounts as work progresses

By Paula Gardner

Anyone trying to drive around Ann Arbor this spring might come to one conclusion: You can’t get there from here.

The number of road projects under way in the city has climbed, and so has their scope: While reconstruction on West Stadium was a signature project a few years ago, drivers this year are confronted with orange barrels and “detour” signs at major intersections and thoroughfares around the city.

Five lanes of Packard east of Platt are down to two. Dexter Avenue is closed to through traffic. Northbound Glen Avenue is closed. Huron Parkway is operating with fewer lanes, following a temporary closing of the Geddes Road intersection.

And East Stadium Boulevard—already smarting from a complex detour as its bridges over South State get reconstructed—now must endure resurfacing and water main replacement.

That doesn’t even include downtown—or projects outside of the city, like US-23 and M-14, or even neighborhood streets.

How are drivers reacting?

“I’m hearing that it’s getting into people’s way,” said Susan Pollay, executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

And the emotions the road work generates includes “frustration and confusion,” she said.

But at the same time, there’s some relief: “People,” she said, “are grateful the city is investing in repaving as much as they are.”

Many city road projects—which also can include water line replacement, like on Dexter, Packard and Hill streets—were put on hold as officials worked out funding for the Stadium Bridges work.

When a federal grant came through for $13.9 million of that $22.8 million project, funds were freed for other projects. This year the city is repaving 37 streets.

“There was less planned in the past because there was a chance that we’d have to spend road millage money on the bridges,” said Les Sipowski, senior project manager.

Sipowski didn’t have totals for all road work in the city this spring, but there’s about $7.6 million for repaving, $3.6 million for East Stadium and another $3 million for Packard.

The actual construction is one aspect of the work. Another component for city staff is rerouting drivers.

That’s been a challenge this year, Sipowski said.

“The Stadium bridges definitely put a monkey wrench in the transportation system,” he said. “Once you remove such an important link from the city system, it hurts.”

Some detours are more easy to plan than others, he said. Key among the easier ones: Roads in areas where the streets were formed in grids, like the Old West Side.

Other areas are designed in a more “suburban shape,” he said, with limited alternative routes. That’s the case with Packard, where few nearby east-west alternatives exist, and one—Washtenaw—already operates at or near capacity.

“When we have a situation like that, it is really difficult to find a good, high-capacity detour route,” Sipowski said.

Recent work at Fuller, Geddes and Huron Parkway resulted in traffic delays as one direction of traffic had to be closed at a time as a safety measure.

That, Sipowski said, can be “extremely inefficient” for traffic flow.

That area, near Huron High School, is one of the most frustrating for drivers who are giving feedback to the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

One parent told spokesperson Liz Margolis that it took her an hour to get back and forth from the Carpenter area to Huron on one day in May. But it’s not just there, it’s “all over town,” Margolis said.

Buses have been affected, too, and officials have been looking at alternatives to ensure they’re consistently on time.

Other issues that may be accentuating the road work pressure for drivers are signal systems that still need to be manually changed. Some—like at Eisenhower—easily adapt to traffic changes due to software that adjust timing in real-time.

Sipkowski said city staff understands the pressure facing drivers. The worst stretch of road work in the city in his opinion is on Packard near Platt, where delays of eastbound traffic stretch for city blocks during rush hour and neighborhood streets have had to be closed to cut-through drivers.

“Removing 50 percent of capacity makes it very, very difficult to handle.”

And yes, the project management unit is hearing from drivers—many of whom accuse the city of not doing enough.

“But I think that we are trying diligently to minimize delays,” Sipkowski said.

On Dexter Avenue, where Huron forms a fork with Jackson, John Mendler agrees.

He owns Mallek’s Service Station, which is selling less than half of its average 2,000 gallons of fuel per day now that Dexter is closed to through traffic.

“It’s a pain in the butt, but we’re surviving,” he said.

Dust from the construction is annoying, and he finds that his morning customer traffic has dwindled to nothing. He suspects that’s because drivers have found other routes.

But he’s also not critical of the process: Sometimes afternoon sales pick up, he said. “And it’s not like I didn’t have any warning.”

He also said the progress by the work crews makes a difference.

“They’re working and they’re working hard,” he said. “.. It’s not as bad as it could be.”

Meanwhile, staff is doing its best to keep projects on track.

“They’re going at it, knowing the community needs it,” Pollay said.

And the good news in all of this, Sipowski said: Most of the projects are on schedule, if not ahead of it.

“It’s going relatively smoothly,” he said. “… They used the warm weather nicely. The projects are moving along well.”

Paula Gardner is news director of Contact her by email or follow her on Twitter.



Tue, May 22, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

I've been living in Ann Arbor for 6 years. When I first got here, the summer was a relaxing time to enjoy downtown AA without so many students around. I patronized downtown businesses and restaurants. My husband used to pick me up from work and we'd drive home on South Fifth Avenue. I haven't driven on that road for years and I'm sure I won't again before I move away at the end of July. I've only been downtown once this season. The construction is noisy, dusty, and traffic is horrible. I used to commute to downtown on the AATA #36 bus. Today I gave up and bought a UM permit--now I will drive to the stadium and park there so I can take maybe the only bus left that doesn't go through construction (UM Commuter). My commute from S. State Street to Central Campus on #36 has taken anywhere from 20 minutes to 1h30, and return is no better even though southbound State is open. I can't count the number of times I've sat waiting at Central Campus Transit Center while promises the bus will arrive in 8, 9, 10 mins...then the arrival time "rolls over" after the bus is 30 mins late. Oh, and driving up Church St still looks like the frats are there. The side of the road lined with construction workers lolling around in the shade while one lane of traffic is open and no work is being done. Nice sight to see for those of us who have to WORK to remain employed. By the way, before this I lived for 5 years in LA. No joke, the traffic here is worse.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

Ride a bike.

John Hritz

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

For years, I have suggested that they limit the total number of construction barrels like they do for liquor licenses. This would force work to proceed instead of tearing up the roadway, limiting access to businesses and then putting the project on hold while some missing resource is freed up.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

One last note: There is whining and complaining, and there is action. Choose action. It works much better.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

I want perfect road...but don't you dare inconvenience me by maintaining them.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

The poor decision making and lack of basic logistical knowledge has shown the ineptitude of the leaders in Ann Arbor. They would rather spend 2 years building an underground garage (that still is not done) then stagger road construction projects to where the whole of the City is not under siege. The lack of logistical planning is just as maddening as the long lights and traffic backups. Nobody thought this out ahead of time. It seems as if they realized at the last minute they had a surplus of money to spend and someone just said "Do it". I have lived in Ann Arbor for 35 years and never been more disgusted at the lack of planning and leadership in the city government. This construction crisis is just the icing on top of the cake. While many of the roads, "needed it", they could have waited until the bridge was opened or done certain projects this year and others next year. The E. Stadium section that is under construction now was not terrible, nor was Glen or Huron Parkway. Now Liberty from 1st to 7th will be shut down. Just reading the responses above and comparing it to the comments, it shows the City leadership and planners are extremely detached from reality.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Did all the commenters here just move to Michigan in 2011? There is a reason we joke there are only two seasons n this state and road construction is one. You think Ann Arbor is bad, try to get through Dexter for the last month? Is this any worse than Plymouth Rd. last year, or the M-14 closure 5-6 years back? Are you people angry cause for a few weeks you have to go Jackson to Maple to get to Plum Market?


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Happily, construction in Dexter is finished. The results...WELL worth the inconvenience!

The Black Stallion3

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.

I think I am going to cry after listening to all these sob stories.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:05 a.m.

Yo, berthavernation has a hoveround, ain't no reason why you can't utilize that


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Won't Art Fair be fun this year????? Can't wait for all the cars to come into town and negotiate the construction zones. Artists beware: your sales may suffer this year.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

Why are they closing Glenn Ave north to Fuller at the same time they are working on the Huron Parkway????? There is no way to get across the river and avoid the Huron Parkway without going to N. Division! This is ludicrous! Terrible planning.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

On Saturday, I was driving east on Fuller Road toward the Huron parkway, and I sat, literally, for 15 minutes in a line of cars, while two individuals working on the project allowed traffic from all the other directions to pass through the intersection. It was totally ludicrous and a great example of the incompetence at some of these construction sites. Once the cars were let through on Fuller, there was nothing going on that would stop cars from proceeding through the intersection. Total incompetence.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Can annarbor dot com provide a list of ALL construction projects in the city currently underway and list all of the completion dates? Let's get some accountability into the system.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

When the signs went up for the Huron parkway project, they said "through May". Now it says: "expect long delays." I seriously doubt that they will be done in another week. Why lie to people?


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

I'd have a lot more empathy for the city planners and their construction if I didn't see empty construction zones on a daily basis while driving in that mess. I drove the entire length of the Packard construction the other day, in the middle of the day, and not a single worker could be seen doing anything! They tear up the roads, leave them in pieces, and quit working on them for a month while we have to drive around their mess. How about a sense of urgency to get the project completed? Ann Arbor sucks.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

This is terrible planning. Just about everywhere I need to go takes forever.

David Misek

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:36 a.m.

Well then, you will just have to go somewhere else.....


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

From around Burns Park to Downtown: Packard has unbearable traffic during Rush Hour times due to the closure of the Stadium Bridge AND parts of Stadium near Packard. You can't go on Washtenaw easily because of construction there and on Glenn. I am not against construction projects, I just think it is awful planning to have so many at the same time.

The Black Stallion3

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

It is not all about You !!!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

The projects mentioned in the article seem to be coming along nicely. While I wish they could have been split up and completed in phases, I understand that now is the optimal construction time. HOWEVER, as was mentioned below, the fifth/liberty work has been crawling along for what seems like YEARS now...

The Black Stallion3

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Stop crying A2.....just be thankful that you are getting repairs...a lot of this country doesn't. You can't always have it your way.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

Apparently you don't live in Ann Arbor, so this construction does not affect you. You would be complaining if it took you 10-20 extra minutes to get around town.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

My solution? I take public transportation.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

Buses are stuck in the same traffic as the cars.

Cendra Lynn

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Glen St. does not connect Fuller and Huron Parkway. It connects Fuller and Huron. Welcome to A2; now go home!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I say this every year. The construction will be finished before the football season. That is A2's biggest priority.

John Hritz

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

It used to be that football and art fair would protect us from the worst construction abuses. Even the prospect of the POTUS showing up doesn't seem to have an effect these days. UofM didn't raise a finger to get the bridge construction sorted out for football season. I have no idea what they're waiting for on 5th avenue.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

This just in: All out grouch alert!!! If you want improved infrastructure, you will be inconvenienced.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

@Annie. I live on a quiet little street, and people fly down it, as though it is the Indy 500. When this problem got worse, I called the police, and they responded by posting a big sign that indicated the speed a driver was going...and many times I see them by the side of the road watching for speeders. Strike up a friendship with local law enforcers. You will find it goes a long way. Grouching about it on an online blog will get you absolutely no results. Be pro-active for your kid's sake.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

If being concerned about my and my son's safety because idiots go 40 mph hour down my street (when the speed limit is 25) and blow the stop sign, means I'm a grouch, then so be it. The blatent disregard to safety is my biggest issue and I will be "grouchy" til the day I die. We didn't have this problem before the construction began because very few people used our street, except for the people that live in our neighborhood...and, curiously, they seem to know that there is a stop sign and children in the neighborhood. You'd be upset too if you lived in the neighborhood that this happens in. It isn't an inconvenience, it's simply DANGEROUS.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Then run for for a position within the city gov't, Silly.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Nope. Julie prefers UPS.

Silly Sally

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

No, it is the difference between UPS, FedEx, and the Post Offce (USPS) julkeswhimsies chooses the Post Office, I choose FedEx or UPS. I and others have higher expectations. We do not accept such poor mismanagement as normal and good government.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

In my neighborhood, which is directly impacted by one of the bigger projects, the headline for this article should be "Adaptation and cheerfulness happen as work progresses." Why concentrate on the negative? The end result is gonna be great. Inconvenience? Extra time? So what. More cars on your quiet street? An occasional honk? Oh, gee. We. are. so. spoiled. Sometimes I think that poor is a magnet for people who are "professionally" unhappy.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:45 a.m.

"Professionally unhappy". I like that. Mind if I borrow that? Ann Arbor. 27 square miles of professionally unhappy people surrounded by reality.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

Who cares if people want to vent/gripe on an internet blog, would you rather they take out their frustrations in unsafe ways like road rage? Sick of these superior attitudes by some commenters who obviously never complain about anything EVER.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Argo. I tire of all the whiners on this blog. Count your smiles today.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

I live near Briarwood, drop my child of at school on Stadium and continue on to Domino's Farms every day. I am affected as much as, and probably more than, 99% of the complainers in this article. It may be poor strategic planning by the city but most of the commuter problems can be solved by better individual planning. Leave's that simple, or take a different route. Or you could just keep forcing round pegs into square holes.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Sarah, and since you mentioned Ellsworth: Ellsworth-Stone School-Packard or Ellsworth-Stone School-Eisenhower-South Main.


Tue, May 22, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Sarah, Try Packard-Eisenhower-South Main. I occasionally take this route to work-approximately 23 minutes DURING RUSH HOUR, Briarwood to Domino's Farms.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

a2citizen: let's see. I live east of the Packard/Carpenter intersection and work in downtown. My options: -Packard, down to one lane in each direction. Today, in fact, the westbound traffic needed to drive in the center turn lane because the construction had three lanes. Once you get through that, you're okay until the Packard/Stadium construction. Time THAT wrong and you wait at that light for up to 20 minutes (though it was better than the first day). -Washtenaw: yeah, this one works. Slowly but with everybody playing frogger to get a car length. -Ellsworth: I suppose I could, but it's a one lane road that's stop and go without half of the east side of Ann Arbor roads being under construction -Carpenter/Hogback/Huron River to Geddes towards downtown: Traffic stops moving and even though I can see no one's in the right lane that I need to turn right in, I can't get there. -NB State St is detoured to Packard and Stadium and that construction project. Glen Rd is detoured to Geddes/Huron River drive and that project. I have 3 viable routes to work, discounting Ellsworth. There are SIX projects affecting my three routes. That's just terrible planning. But I will say: Packard is way overdue for the repairs and I think it's for the greater good. But the other ones, at the same time? Seriously?


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

jrw, are you familiar with a2? Look at the directions I gave. I have to traverse every major construction site in A2 to get to/from work EVERY DAY. But I manage, without complaining. The problem is people refuse to take an alternative route because this is a2 and there is an overwhelming smug sense of entitlement about why anybody should be inconvenienced. Here is my challenge: You claim there are not alternate routes. Tell me where you are coming from and where you are going to and I will give you an alternate route. And timewise it will be as good.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

The problem is that there isn't any alternative routes in some cases.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

I definitely agree with the folks saying this construction could have been planned/coordinated better. As someone who lives on the northeast side, I can get to and from work in downtown AA just fine but anything else is a nightmare. Having 23 and Huron Parkway under construction at the same time leaves no reasonable way to get to the Washtenaw corridor. As for closing public streets to through traffic, I have a huge problem with that. My tax dollars paid for those streets to be constructed and pays for them to be maintained so I have every right to use them. Yes, I need to obey the speed limit and street signs when I use them, but telling me I can't use them is unacceptable.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Or you could do as I on the streets my taxpayer dollars fund. To hell with the "Closed to Thru Traffic" attitude. As long as you don't speed I have no problem with it.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Do any of you realize that all of those orange barrels are really aliens marching on our streets. Sme day they will leave andthen what will you have to complain about??


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

I like it when the Orange barrels are left on closed lanes and nobody is working on them. Nothing like a traffic jam because the barrels are left out! Besides, it is killing the planet if you believe that stuff!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Get out of your car and manually remove the barrels. It's not rocket science.

Ron Granger

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Some drivers are never satisfied. They complain incessantly about the condition of the streets. And they complain incessantly about the repairs. They complain about speed limits being too low. If you suggest they take the highway if they want to go fast, they'll complain. If you suggest they obey the laws and slow down, they'll complain. Suggest they walk, bike or a take a bus? Oh dear no! They can't possibly do that.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

I take the bus at least once a week. It takes just as long if not longer with all this construction.

Silly Sally

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:12 p.m.

Why should we put up with such poor roads? People in other states do not. They also do not suffer for months and months from roads closed for repairs. The roads elsewhere are maintained and kept in good condition. Even Ohio can do it. OHIO! Michigan is worse and Ann Arbor is almost as bad as Detroit. That is why we complain. Only a fool would accept these poor roads as normal or good.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

On the plus side I was going down State @ Stadium yesterday and there is now a bridge span across State again! With no concrete falling off of it, either. They'll probably have that done before the library structure at this rate.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

I live in Ypsi and they are doing construction on my street. Just outside our little street. I can't see around all the equipment when they leave so getting out is a bit of a challenge. And when they are working I just hear BEEP BEEP BEEP all day long. I have no idea what they are doing! Just digging up people's lawns! And now our street is a one way street. Very hard to get in and out of.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

This, too, shall pass.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

As a parent who takes their child to Huron High School each day and comes from Carpenter road, the construction is beyond being furious. Example. Though we left at 7:10am we arrived in traffic on Huron River Dr by the golf course at 7:22am. Ten minutes later at 7:32am we're still on Huron River Dr by the golf course in traffic. I then decided to make a left hand turn onto Huron Parkway to avoid the bridge altogether since traffic wasn't moving at all. While doing so I notice three tandem dump trucks approaching the bridge at the light. Now on Washtenaw Ave heading westbound I'm thinking about turning right onto, Glen? right near the UM science building across from UM's Power Plant. Oops. No can do. Construction, no right turn. Ok. Now I need an alternate route. Travel a little further to turn right onto some side street before State St., with me? Complete, I'm back on my way. Then another right turn and end up at the light at Ann St I think getting ready to turn left. Oops. No can do. No worries, I'll just loop around and turn right onto Huron Parkway across from Angelo's. Oops. No can do, no right turn. Seeing this I turn right onto E. Medical Center drive, stop at the stop sign, turn left onto whatever that street is, reach Huron Parkway and make a right at the bridge before it turns into Broadway. Now traveling east again, I'm passing Art & Arch bldg, VA hospital and get my child to school at 7:42am!, two minutes late from the bell. Heading back home crossing the bridge on Huron Parkway, I see the same cars I left 12 minutes ago still in traffic and have only gone a few feet and are now stuck in traffic on the bridge. Extreme? Maybe. Getting my child to school nearly on time and keeping moving, priceless. Not sure what they're doing to the road further along Huron Parkway, but, it seeems that some if not alot could be done at night with just major lighting.

Basic Bob

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 10:43 a.m.

@a2citizen, Carpenter Road might be outside the city of Ann Arbor, but it is well within the boundaries of AAPS. Carpenter School is further east, and so is Roberto. THOUSANDS of AAPS students use Carpenter Road to get to school every day. Geographically, Ypsi HS is closer than Huron, but we didn't pick the school boundaries or the location of the schools. To eliminate any possible confusion - these are not "choice" students, we don't live in Ypsilanti, and we do pay AAPS taxes.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:34 a.m.

jrw, ever heard of school of choice? That's why racer drives their kid to school. Read the route they take...about a mile from Ypsi High School. Read the comment closely. Racer does not live in A2. Every day I commute the route racer is complaining about. Leave earlier or take a different path. I deal with the same thing...dropping my child of at school, going to work, then coming home through the construction. Your comment is the one that is ignorant.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

A2citizen There are attendance boundaries that determine where you send your child to school. Your response is ignorant.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

Why don't you send your kid to Ypsilanti high school? Or leave home at 7:00am


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.


Basic Bob

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Two weeks ago I waited on Geddes for 25 minutes within sight of Huron HS. Finally turned around, went back to Earhart (traffic backed up all the way to the roundabout), down Glazier, sat in traffic another 15 minutes, finally followed another car on the milled down (and closed) pavement to turn into the school. I can tell you that in 25 minutes, not a single car traveled through the intersection in any direction between 5:05 and 5:30 pm. Complete grid lock extended at least a mile in all directions from the intersection of Geddes/Fuller/Huron Parkway for hours. Even after our game ended, we were forced to drive west on Fuller through the Glen Ave. construction to get home.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

If the work were being performed by non-union employees, with firms that were incentivized to get the jobs done quickly, this would not be a major issue. However, under the current system, neither the the contractors nor the unions have any impetus to complete the work in a timely manner.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.



Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Oh. Please.

Robert Granville

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

This stadium bridge project has revealed to me just how many people feel that road signs do not apply to them. Road closed to through traffic and no left turn (except buses).... yes that means you! At least the city is making money by writing citations all day. I can't feel bad for the violators. Signs are mounted and many of the drivers plow down Golden at extreme speeds without regard for pets, kids or other vehicles parked on the road. P.S. Pulling through the dentist office parking lot is also illegal and will not save you from a ticket.

Roger Rayle

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

This was a topic at last week's A2B3 after I was surprised by the traffic backup on Fourth Ave because of the additional closing of Fifth Ave. The City of Ann Arbor's website has some useful interactive road construction maps from their Ann Arbor Geographic Information System (AAGIS) []: City road work: (Click on a project's colored line to get more details about the project. ) State road work: (zoom in as needed) And of course, one can also view Google Maps with the Traffic option on for real-time traffic flow.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Try takng 23 and getting off at Plymouth and sneak down Glaier way from Green Road, should sav you some time.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

This reminds me of traffic reports on local news. If you're already at home than what's the point? If you're in the traffic being shown, then you can't see it. If you're communicating this to someone who is at home watching the traffic snarl-up and call the person in the car in the traffic then the person in the car already knows about it. So, to use the city's wesite before you leave will only show you what routes are being constructed, not how long the waits are in traffic. Ok. You could have an Audi A8 that enables you to obtain Goggle maps from the in-car wi-fi system. Only then this would be helpful. Then again, not really, because you're already stuck in traffic.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

It is frustrating that so much is being done at the same time. We live on the SE side so we're affected every time we drive - Packard, Stadium/Washtenaw, Huron. And as some have mentioned 23 isn't a good alternative. The worst part is that they don't seem to be working efficiently on them. We live near Packard, and it doesn't seem like they're working on it often. It'd be nice if they'd close a couple roads at a time, focus on those and then move on to a next one.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Be assured that they will have it done before football season.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

DMBE - What you suggest is logical and in the best interest of the people. However, it is not in the interest of the contractors or unions - and guess who calls the shots?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Hand raised here. It took me 30 minutes to cross town on Friday. With 10 minute breaks in between. Why do we need every single street under construction? Why can't it wait until school is out completely and then they can have the streets to themselves? I too am down with AA construction.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

Football season. It will be finished by then.

say it plain

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

And these delays in trying to get across town are coming with the reduction in population of the UM students off for the summer! There are so many streets in town that are in hideous disrepair... we surely have needed work in so many places... but to do it all at once, omg, why?! why?! And this is a level of "all at once" I've never ever seen. Maybe it happens like this in ex-Soviet bloc nations lol...

say it plain

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

I've decided that the ONLY way to avoid mental collapse this summer is to *leave town*., please tell us when it's safe to come back! And, citizens, warn your friends and family living nearby who might be tempted to visit that they should come on foot! The orange barrels won't be pretty and the smells and sounds will offend, but trying to drive will drive one mad! Our city leaders are completely, and utterly, incompetent about such basic matters as how to coordinate construction (and have been obscenely unaware of the frustrations the traffic lights seeming to be about thwarting drivers needlessly and endlessly for years now as well!) so as to maximize quality of life for citizens. I don't buy any of the "but, we *had* to, because we had to leave all that money sitting there til the funding was almost expired just in case the Feds wouldn't pay for the Stadium bridge!" argument... There were alternatives to doing everything at once, and any competent and considerate official would have done so! Some of us can't bike or walk to where we need to get to, and don't give a darn about "art" bike stands or blinking planks of rusty sheet metal representing the water cycle!! We'd like street repair done in a timely, well-coordinated way, and done *properly* so that we don't have to endure constant re-dos (like on Miller, for instance!) We'd like to have you watching out for *all* of us, instead of feeding the special pet projects, instead of creating for us such hell as this construction season is turning out to be!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

@RunsWithScissors, @Annie, @Mike K: According to a recent opinion piece (, you have little to no say on the speed limit through your neighborhood, no matter what it does to the character of your neighborhood, your kids' safety, or your quality of life. As soon as 85% of the drivers think a given speed is OK, then the limit should be bumped to whatever they decide to drive.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

The street I live on is a residential neighborhood where people park on both sides of the street. While traveling down my street, if another car is driving towards you, one of you has to pull over to let the other one pass. There is NO REASON why the speed limit should be over 25 because it is NOT SAFE. Tell your friends!


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

CORRECTION: It's not 85% of all drivers that would determine the speed limit. It's the 85th fastest driver out of 100 drivers.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Personally, I think whoever planned the construction to all happen at once and block every access into and out of town should be fired. I live in a neighborhood where there is construction in every direction around me. I can't go anywhere without the driving being miserable. And yet I still drive on roads that are in terrible condition - Jewett, King George Blvd, Independence, and they are not slated to have re-construction and they will continue to get worse, more ruts in the road and more potholes. Dumping hot tar into those openings does not fix the problem. I wonder if the people who planned this construction even live in or drive in Ann Arbor. What might look good on paper is not the same in reality.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

Could not agree more. Have you tried to drive a school bus on one of those blocked areas? Not fun.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Construction delays are part of life. Six months of pain are worth long term gain. I would rather have them do the construction that is needed on A2 Saline Road and cause delays, then have to risk alignment and tie rods going through the land mines that are currently there. The fact is, THIS is what happens when people think that government spending should be lower. Needed projects and upgrades are delayed until the point that there is ZERO option but to do them. Most of these projects were delayed due to the economic downturn. All these things could easily be fixed if an extra dime or two was added to the gas tax or a true fair way to pay for roads was developed. My answer has always been mileage and weight based. If you drive a 3000 pound car that drives 20,000 miles you pay a specific amount. If you drive a 8,000 truck and drive 60,000 miles a year you pay a substantially higher amount.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

As a westsider I am avoiding "going across town", I made the mistake of thinking I could drive down packard one day and got stuck. One of our favorite after work spots to eat will just have to due without us until the bridge is complete. seperatly as a downtown shop keeper out of towners are complaining, just yesterday someone got stuck on 94 on the way to A2, then on 23, came downtown, did some shopping, then got stuck on packard trying to get through town. It was the second person this week who called me after leaving the shop to ask how to get somewhere because of construction.

Mike K

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

I have to wonder who plans these things. Does anyone realize a river separates the north and south sections of the city? Yet, for some reason two major north / south routes are hampered by construction (Huron River Road / US 23). By major routes, I mean that there is a bridge to get over the river.......... Don't offer Dixboro Rd... Been there done that...........

mike gatti

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Cant' do anything about it. Roads need to be built. At least it gets people back working for a while. That's a good thing and when the Stadium bridge reopens imagine the thrill of going over it without wondering how much longer is this gonna hold up.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

I heard they are ahead of schedule because of the weather. Could it be true that we might have a bridge by end of September?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

They're doing construction at night to speed the process along and get back to normal streets, right? Wait a second, I bet AA didn't negotiate that into the construction contracts. Yup, they can negotiate for OVERPRICED art with the same skill they negotiate road projects.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

I could understand if you don't have to deal with the traffic so much you would consider it whining, but it is beyond ridiculous! Thursday before last it took me 45 minutes to travel from Huron Hills to Geddes Lake on Huron Parkway. This past Friday, not a construction worker in site, yet Saturday I sat in front of Huron High for 25 minutes as they let traffic through that entire time in the opposite direction. I leave early enough to accommodate, but I was nearly late for a class I teach. I take an alternative way home to avoid Packard, but there really is no viable alternative for Huron Parkway.

Mike K

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Feel your pain. See below.

Jim Osborn

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Poor planning and a lack of coordination. Blocking most major roads at once is a mistake. In California, the practice is to do half as many projects but then have double the workers, so roads are finished quickly. MDOT did this on a I-94 resurfacing project 6 or so years ago. Ann Arbor…


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Just another reason why California is broke.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

You do understand that an interstate is different than a city street? Peoples houses, sidewalks and businesses are not ON the interstate. If you live on Packard, do you want jack hammers and construction trucks going at 4 am?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

It's bordering on community negligence having so many dang construction projects going on. I consider myself lucky in that I live at the Washtenaw/Huron Pkwy intersection, and the places I need to go, are not terribly disrupted by the dozen plus construction zones. Surely city administration should have taken this into consideration. It's almost sadistic what they are allowing to occur in the city. A2 is not a gigantic metropolis where construction zones are spread out and don't affect so many drivers!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

This is a quote from Les Sipkowski, about the lane closings on Packard: "Removing 50 percent of capacity makes it very, very difficult to handle." Which I find funny, because hizzoner and his minions insist that taking two lanes away on Jackson will actually improve traffic flow. Perhaps, an intrepid young reporter could ask hizzoner why the city considers reducing lanes on Packard temporarily to be "very difficult" while removing lanes on Jackson permanently would actually improve things.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Another reason to ride a bicycle as much as possible!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

And to leave early and play meditative music. Patience.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

I, too, am frustrated, but I see the need for all this construction and more. The only caveat I have puts me in agreement with skigirl. I assume that the Huron parkway ordeal could have waited until after the end of the school year. If it's any consolation, many other roads outside of Ann Arbor are under construction (constriction?). I went to Warren yesterday and all primary routes had multiple lane closures.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

I'm curious about the "closed roads" around the Packard construction. Are they truly closed or is the city trying to convince people that those stuck in traffic shouldn't detour through those neighborhoods? If it's the latter, well, that's not right. I mean, when you get to Packard and Platt, heading east, you're down to ONE lane. They don't even have the left turn lane open until the last possible second, which is terrible for traffic flow. Where else is it supposed to go, but through those neighborhoods? As noted, Washtenaw and Ellsworth are at capacity! I love how the city says that but doesn't offer any viable alternative. Also, why did they chose to repave Huron River Parkway prior to the end of the school year?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

My neighborhood, near Packard & Platt, sees a lot of cut-through traffic. I respect that drivers are seeking a way around the gridlock but it's hard to not take it personally when they travel at 35 - 40 mph. As a result, there's been a spontaneous "take-back-the-streets" effort. Home-made signs are propped up in front yards. The messages range from friendly, "Kids At Play", to grumpy, "What ..... Idiots!" Residents are shouting at drivers to "Slow down!" I've even seen a rolling Parchesi blockade - with the lead driver keeping a steady 25 mph pace. Our efforts seem to be paying off. At the very least it helps us feel better about our own frustration. Maybe we can look back on this as the year of the Invasion of the Orange Barrel. Something to tell the grandkids while they travel in hovercrafts or tele-port to school.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

I believe you're talking about Yost Rd (not York). We've always had a lot of "cutters" on the streets between Packard and Washtenaw. YES, please continue to slow down through our neighborhood of you choose to do this. We have lot of kids in the neighborhood, including in the area right near Packard so please slow down immediately when turning off of Packard. Thanks!

Mike K

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

RWS - I may be one of those "cutters" as I live in the same area, but I have not seen any push back from area neighbors when I get off Packard to avoid the mess. I share your concerns though as I can't stand when people come flying down our road at truly unsafe speeds. In as much as I dislike the "traffic calming" measures on York Rd (??), I see them as necessary.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

That's my biggest problem with all of this too. I don't care if people use our street as a cut through...because that's what they are there for...BUT I DO have a problem with people going 30 or 40 mph, blowing the stop sign in front our house. I have to get into my vehicle that's parked on the street, putting my son in his car seat, while these idiots are blatently breaking the law in a dangerous way.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : noon

There is construction and then there is construction that is MANY MONTHS behind schedule. In November of last year the DDA said that 5th Ave. would reopen in January. Now it's nearly June and it STILL isn't open. Can anyone explain how a project schedule slips six months over a one month period? It's become obvious that the DDA is thoroughly incompetent regarding the management of this project. And their answer at this point? "I'm hearing that it's getting into people's way,". Really? Have you also heard that it's putting a serious hurt on some longtime local businesses in the area? Mayor, council ... where is the accountability for this disaster? Since the citizens have no say whatsoever in the DDA that means that the responsibility rests with you alone. And we've heard nothing from you.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

I agree with Johnny, it really isn't a huge deal that 5th Street is closed. How many N/S streets are there in A2? Plus the extra parking space will be nice when it opens.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Blah^3: I've "adapted" by wasting my time to detour around the long-delayed construction as I drive through the city. Me and thousands of other people every day. I'm sick and tired of that. How about those affected businesses? Have they had to "adapt" to lower profits? Your concern is underwhelming.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Blah BLah Blah. Get over it. I am so sick of the complaining about 5th street. It has been closed for a LONG time now. Those that do things downtown have adapted and quite frankly it could stay closed forever and not change anything. This is another example of people looking for something to complain about


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

It's obvious that you've never worked on a major outdoor construction project of any kind. I share your disdain for the DDA, but give the parking structure construction crews a break. They've been doing a great job overall.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

I can't figure out why they couldn't start the Huron Parkway construction until after school is out. 30 minutes to get over the bridge at 7:15 am is just crazy. There will be so much less traffic after school is out.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Yesterday afternoon at 1:00 i approached that intersection from the east, heading west on Geddes. There was a flag man with a stop/ slow sign. Our lane of traffic sat dead stop still for twenty one minutes while we could see the other three directions being let move at least three times each. It was miserable and frustrating. The poor flag guy has nerves of steel. By the time the other lanes of traffic were on their second pass to our zero, people were laying on their horns and shouting. One guy a few cars behind me got out of his car and stood in the road screaming. He cursed and threatened and mentioned some suggestions what the flag guy could do with his stop sign. The flag guy wasnt influenced by this at all. He didnt flinch. Twenty one minutes. Waiting was bad ( it was hot and my subarus AC is down) but the screaming guy made it worse.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

How about putting the crews on nights, bringing in lights, and freeing up the roads during the busiest part of the about shifting 2 or 3 crews and working 24 hours, finishing up the job three times faster?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

They are working through the night on US 23 on the weekends and it is hard to get sleep with all that racket. Really, really loud!!!!!


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

without a bridge...


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

So you want blinding lights to hit YOUR home at 4 am? Then hear the pounding of jack hammers at those same hours? Then of course you also have the added COST of having people working over nights. Yup, sounds like you though that plan through. NOT


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

We're not talking about freeways here — people live along the roads that are currently under construction. There are laws that restrict noise during evening and nighttime hours, and for good reason.

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

A reader emailed me this morning to ask about the condition of Ann Arbor-Saline at I-94, which is pretty bad. Here's our most recent story on that: Also on South Fifth Avenue: It's getting close. We were told possibly early June, maybe end of May.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Don't believe it until I see it. It's never ending. I totally avoid downtown A2 and businesses will suffer. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is avoiding A2 downtown establishments and taking my business elsewhere, to places I can get to easily and park. A2 is dreaming if they think people are going to fight construction all over town and then pay exorbitant prices for parking on top of it. Dream on.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

And last November we were told January. Who believes them at this point??


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

All it has done is to make sure that I head out of town when I want to go shopping or dine out-- when it is less frustrating to go to Wayne County, Oakland County or Toledo than go downtown, that influences where I'll spend my money.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

That's awfully dramatic.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Downtown is the easiest place to get to during all this construction. It's other parts of town that I avoid.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

Except that the freeways have their own construction projects going on this summer too...


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

Frustration is the eternal closure of 5th avenue at Liberty as they continue the work of finishing the underground parking structure. Didn't this paper report back in December of 2011 that we might see Fifth re-open in January, 2012? Was that a typo that should have read '2013'?


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

The powers to be can't find thier way out of a paper bag , much less coordinate road construction or even traffic lights for that matter ...what do you expect....

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Of course trying to fit three years of construction into one is a bad idea, but it didn't stop the Mayor and our city leaders from trying! For more background on this problem, see:


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

I have to say, knowing you are running for Mayor of Ann Arbor, these type of look at him but don't look at me comments make me less inclined to support your candidacy. Some substance would for how it should be done would go a long way.

Chip Reed

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:33 a.m.

I can see why there would be frustration when "neighborhood streets have had to be closed to cut-through drivers". NIMBY means "back yard", NOT a city street that is paid for by everyone's taxes. They hate our freedoms, including the right to take the best route to one's destination. All streets are created equal. Free Iroquois.

Robert Granville

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

The roads are closed because of the way people misuse the streets during the construction. If all drivers followed traffic laws when entering and exiting our neighborhood, the burns park association probably wouldn't have gone to the city and demanded that something be done. Complain to the violators. It's an inconvenience for us too.

Bob W

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

Just reaffirms that Ann Arbor is the Whine Capitol of the Midwest. Get a grip folks.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Bob W's comment suggests to me that he doesn't live on a street that is used as a cut through. I was honked at by a bully in a large, black truck for slowing down to turn into my driveway. I'm looking forward to work commencing on the second half of Dexter Avenue so that my little street becomes a cul-de-sac for a while. It won't stop that bully from being a bully but with luck it will break people of the habit of streaking down the road at 40mph in their hurry to get around the clogged Jackson/Maple intersection.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

I wonder how many of these boo-hoo people were complaining about road surfaces six months ago.

mike gatti

Sun, May 20, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

That was a mean thing to say. It really burns me up.


Sun, May 20, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

I find the construction to be extremely annoying because no matter where you go, you run into some kind of construction here in Ann Arbor. I suspect that the reason they are doing it all at once is because the funding expires after a year...if that isn't the reason, then this city is run by morons.

David Misek

Mon, May 21, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

You are correct, the city is run by morons.....