You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

By the numbers: Yearly traffic counts at intersection of State and Ellsworth

By Amy Biolchini

Work began Monday on a $2.4 million project at the intersection of South State and Ellsworth roads in Pittsfield Township to convert the traffic signal-controlled intersection into a two-lane roundabout.

The project was initiated because of the projected traffic issues that Pittsfield Township officials anticipated would come with the June 2012 opening of the new Costco store at 771 Airport Blvd.


The intersection of State and Ellsworth roads in Pittsfield Township Sunday.

Amy Biolchini |

A traffic analysis completed in 2010 projected that the addition of Costco to the area would add about 1,000 vehicle trips on a weekday and would nearly double some of the wait times on State at the Ellsworth traffic light.

A recent report indicates 49 crashes occurred at State and Ellsworth in 2011 -- ranking it among the top 40 intersections in the county for incidents that year.

Eight of those crashes involved injuries, and 29 were rear-end collisions.

Brent Schlack, senior project manager in the Traffic and Safety division of the the Washtenaw County Road Commission, said that traffic counts are conducted on a three-year basis -- a recent change from a two-year count cycle.

The following are the average number of vehicles per day that travel on State and Ellsworth. The figures are based off of 24-hour traffic counts.

The Road Commission monitors Ellsworth Road traffic approaching the State Street intersection at Oak Valley Drive:

  • 2012: 16,080 vehicles/day
  • 2010: 14,640 vehicles/day
  • 2008: 13,620 vehicles/day
  • 2006: 16,530 vehicles/day
  • 2004: No data available
  • 2002: 16,070 vehicles/day
  • 2000: 18,489 vehicles/day

South State Road traffic at Ellsworth Road:

  • 2012: 15,660 vehicles/day
  • 2010: 16,200 vehicles/day
  • 2008: 16,250 vehicles/day
  • 2006: 18,570 vehicles/day
  • 2004: 15,820 vehicles/day
  • 2002: 18,729 vehicles/day
  • 2000: 19,284 vehicles/day

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

By "roundabout" you mean "opportunity for super aggressive drivers to turn the simple act of driving straight into a traumatizing life-altering event"?


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

This is good to hear that a round about is coming. The way it is set up now makes it a nightmare just to get thru it. This will make traffic more bearable.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I always wonder why the traffic signals in the Ann Arbor area a timed the way they are. In metro Detroit, cars going straight are allowed to go first while those turning have a blinking light. A sensor only turns on the turn light if cars are present. I can't count the number of times I've sat at a light wanting to turn with no oncoming traffic but been forced to wait or times I've wanted to go straight while a turn light is green but no cars are present.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

One man's spin on the numbers. . .Bordrs HQ, formerly located 1 mile ease of said intersection, with roughly 1,000 employees/vehicles at its zenith began to downsize circa 2008 to zero circa 2011. State-Ellsworth was a significant choke point for the Borders commuters from i-94 and points west and north.

Steve Bean

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:24 a.m.

The peaks in traffic volume coincide roughly with peaks in the stock market (and, lagging somewhat, the national economy). I would expect another peak this year as the market has likely topped last month with a long decline to follow.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 6:13 a.m.

Hey Steve, the Republikans have been trying to crash the economy since Obama took office, but it just keeps growing along with the traffic counts as soon as we see the Costco effects. By the way, there are some really good derivative investments on the market when you dump your stocks.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

You mean people driving to work, shopping, and entertainment? I guess unemployed people have the flexibility to combine trips or ride bicycles. Don't quit your day job.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:24 a.m.

I'd like to know which A2 official went to a conference and got all jazzed up about roundabouts. Are they an MSU grad? Try looking at New England to understand how to do it. A2 roundabouts are ridiculous. Mid-westerners are clueless about how to drive these things. Yield = Stop on Geddes, even if no other cars are in sight. They are far more dangerous than problem-solving. Typical of A2 city government, they can't: 1. Interpret a report 2. Design traffic control 3. Do something that motivates people to visit A2 and spend $ One more reason to avoid Costco, Briarwood, the State Street corridor, and A2 in general. I'll continue to take my $ elsewhere.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

1 Other than the fact this is PITTSFIELD TWP done by the WCRC you might have a point, but as usual reading is not important when you have an opinion. The city has NOTHING to do with this project, but go on ranting As for spending money in Ann Arbor, the A2 economy is the beacon in the state of Michigan. The LOWEST unemployment rate and largest economic growth in the state.. You go ahead and pend wherever the hell you want, nobody has missed a beat without you in A2.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

Those enormous New England traffic circles are being ripped out because they do not work as well as some people think they know. Michigan people are not alone in their lack of driving skills, but they are unique in how much they overestimate their ability.

Concerned Neighbor

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

I have thought for years that the traffic signals are to blame. What would it cost to put sensors in the road that actually work? The timing of the current signals are to blame for the long waits. The initial drawings of the round about being proposed look too small. I hope they are not miss engineered like the ones at Geddes and 23.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

I have used US23 to Geddes daily for a long time and before the Roundabouts, I had to stop on US23 north of Geddes many times because the intersection could not handle the rush hour traffic. Since the construction, I have never had to wait more than a minute to get onto Geddes from 23.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

Pressure sensors in the road is old technology, and has largely been replaced by overhead cameras. These are not so sensitive to where vehicles stop. But the concept is the same. These can be programmed to let traffic proceed until the intersection clears, then go the other way. For some unknown reason, this method is either unsuccessful in Washtenaw County, or has never been tried.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Either way you look at the numbers there is history of higher traffic counts in the past. While there is some congestion during rush hour it is not a substantial problem. Certainly does not seem to warrant a $2 Million spend. Plus, if you need a roundabout at this intersection why not others with the same traffic counts? Is it percentage of turn traffic? Was there a count done on the turn traffic? Oak Valley and Ellsworth have higher counts and no roundabout going there (I hope not at least).

Willie Reid

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

You also have to take into account the decrease in traffic from Borders' Headquarters closing. Borders was responsible for much of the daily traffic in that area. I'm not surprised daily traffic counts have decreased, but if they redevelop the Borders headquarters, traffic counts will be back near where they were 10 years ago and probably more.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

The traffic count figures are calculated using a formula to project the average daily traffic. The basis of the figures come from a count that's done one day every two (now three) years. The increase of 1,000 vehicles per day was a projection made in2010 for what would happen to traffic after the opening of the Costco off of Ellsworth Road. That Costco opened at the end of June 2012. The actual number of vehicles tallied in a 24-hour period on count day (July 23, 2012) was 16,630. Previously, the actual number tallied in the June 16, 2010 count was 17,570. vehicles.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

Do you know the exact date that the Costco opened its doors for business? July 23, 2012 was a Monday, if Costco opened after that date it would be interesting to compare a current traffic count on another Monday. This would be a more precise way to determine if they estimate of 1,000 more vehicle traveling this route per day was accurate.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

2012: 15,660 vehicles/day 2010: 16,200 vehicles/day 2008: 16,250 vehicles/day 2006: 18,570 vehicles/day So, traffic has DECREASED at State and Ellsworth since 2006, while they "projected" and INCREASE of 1000 vehicles per day, which didn't materialize. Not even close. Where did those projections come from? Based on what? Yet, they go ahead with plans for a roundabout to deal with the increased traffic at State and Ellsworth that did NOT materialize. Who is running the road commission and who is making these decisions at taxpayers expense? Let's now see the data on the number of crashes in the last few years at State and Ellsworth. All we have is 49 crashes in 2011, of which 29, or 60%, were rear-end collisions. Let's see the data on the number of collisions at State and Ellsworth each year from 2006 forward to 2012. How many rear end collisions have occurred at the other roundabouts in AA? Let's see the hard data on the "before and after" number of rear end collisions at the roundabouts at other intersections in AA. I still maintain that all these roundabouts are being built due to one person working at the Road Commission who thinks these are a good idea. I don't see the data yet to support these decisions, and building unnecessary road projects while potholes go unfilled and roads are crumbling is irresponsible.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

The projection is based on Costco, not from the years prior. Costco was not open until JULY of 2012. Much of the decrease is attributed to Borders and the loss of jobs at their HQ


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

Is the bus stop at that location (Elsworth/State St) moving down the road, being eliminated?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

How many of the 29 accidents occurred on eastbound Ellsworth at the bus stop right at the corner. Were any of them rear end accidents involving a bus stopping to pickup/drop off riders?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

Well, the numbers show that traffic is less then in the last 12 years. The reasoning was an increase in traffic? where is it?


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:27 a.m.

1. Borders HQ is responsible for much of the decline 2. Costco is expected to INCREASE traffic (the report does not cover since it opened less than a year ago) 3. Doing something BEFORE it becomes an issue is the smart way to manage traffic. When it is a problem, it is already too late.