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Posted on Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Construction preview: 15 of Washtenaw County's busiest roads that will see orange barrels this year

By Amy Biolchini

About $10.7 million in federally distributed funds mean 15 mill and overlay projects will be completed this year on major roads by the Washtenaw County Road Commission, as well as intersection and traffic signal improvements.

The two largest projects using much of the federal funding have already been announced: The Ford Boulevard Bridge reconstruction project in Ypsilanti Township, as well as the roundabout planned for South State Street and Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township.

Federal dollars also will be funding about 80 percent of the following intersection projects:

  • A roundabout for Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township, including the replacement of a culvert on Ridge Road over Fowler Creek
  • Converting the intersection on East Austin Road to Eisman Road from a “Y” to a “T” configuration in Bridgewater Township just east of Manchester
  • Adding a small raised median on Carpenter Road just south of Packard Road in Pittsfield Township
  • Adding a center left turn lane from North Territorial Road to Whitmore Lake Road in Northfield Township
  • Adding a traffic signal to the intersection of Martz and Rawsonville roads in Ypsilanti Township, as well as a center left turn lane on Rawsonville Road

The following mill and overlay projects on major roads will be funded by the federal funds this year:

  • 1.4 miles of Dexter-Chelsea Road to the west of Dexter from Wylie Road in Lima Township to Ann Arbor Street in Scio Township
  • 1 mile of Ann Arbor-Saline Road from Textile Road to the Saline city limits in Lodi Township
  • 2.8 miles of Austin Road from Boettner Road in Bridgewater Township to just east of Grass Road in Saline Township
  • 2.9 miles of Stony Creek Road from Saline Milan Road to Carpenter Road in York Township
  • About 1 mile of Packard Road from Golfside to Ypsilanti city limits in Ypsilanti Township
  • 1.1 miles of West Michigan Avenue from the Interstate 94 overpass to the Ypsilanti city limits in Ypsilanti Township
  • Fixing crack in the center line of 1 mile of Ellsworth Road from Carpenter to Golfside roads in Pittsfield Township
  • 1.1 miles of South Grove Street from Ypsilanti city limits to South Harris Road in Ypsilanti Township
  • 0.6 miles of Tyler Road from Dorset Avenue to Wiard Road in Ypsilanti Township
  • 1.7 miles of Holmes Road from North Prospect Road to Spencer Lane in Ypsilanti Township
  • 3 miles of Geddes Road from North Prospect Street to the county line in Superior Township
  • 0.6 miles of Plymouth Road from Whitehall Drive to North Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor Township
  • 3.7 miles of Pontiac Trail from North Dixboro Road to just south of Seven Mile Road in Salem Township
  • 1 mile of Gottfriedson Road from North Territorial Road to just south of M-14 in Salem Township
  • 1 mile of Gottfriedson Road from just south of M-14 to Plymouth Ann Arbor Road in Salem Township

The Road Commission is continuing to coordinate a reconstruction effort for Ann Arbor-Saline Road, which was pushed back to 2014 after the Michigan Department of Transportation did not come through with its portion of the funding for this year.

MDOT is planning to resurface portions of Interstate 94 and M-14 around Ann Arbor this summer, and the city of Ann Arbor has announced eight major road construction projects as well.

View 2013 Washtenaw County Road Commission projects in a larger map

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



Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Why is North Territorial Road between Spencer (or at least Sutton) to Curry not on this list? This road is in terrible, terrible shape, especially past Pontiac Trail--it is truly barely passable! Patches, cracks, potholes opening every day, the shoulders crumbling into the ditch--even tar and chip would be a HUGE improvement! Or just take the pavement off completely--it is truly that bad. Go take a drive on it and see.

Little Patience

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

I'm thrilled to see Rawsonville & Martz will be getting a traffic signal and a turn lane, but at the same time, am very disappointed that Willis Road doesn't appear to be getting fixed. That road is horrendous!

Bruce Gatward

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 5:33 a.m.

RE: Ann Arbor Saline Rd. --- Turning south at the light at Eisenhower onto Ann Arbor Saline Rd. The potholes are the lesser of the 2 problems at that intersection. More important is the real DANGER that exists because the turn lanes are not marked. My experience is that people drive into my lane by crossing over where lines should be painted. Fix that!!!


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

slow down in bad'll get there.if the people where you're going don't understand well i guess there are stupid people everywhere. now on point.i understand the money part of it but it seems like it would cost more money to keep coming back to the same road every 1-5 years then to do it right the first time.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 5:19 a.m.

Buy stock in orange barrel manufacturers! No worries: after these projects are completed, the resultant huge surplus of orange barrels can be re-purposed into giant Jell-0 molds. My personal favorite is strawberry Jell-O with sliced bananas suspended in the jell. (topped with a dab of whipped cream) And whatever happened to the project which would create a round-about on every mile of Washtenaw County roads? I thought that was a done deal - to support President Obama's program which he calls, "Lets Make Every Driver Dizzy Enough to Believe Whatever I Say." As for Mr. Ranzini's criticism, it's clear he's not yet heard of the new Road Commission motto: "We don't need no stinkin' road maintenance."

music to my ear

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

if I dont see any orange construction barrels in the summertime it just does not feel like home to me (MICH)


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

Basic Bob, you are right those buildings are in Pittsfield but the road on those three sides is all in the city of AA. Look at a map with jurisdiction lines. It is the west curb of State and the south curb-line of Ellsworth east of State.

Dagrmc McEwen

Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Who the hell needs roundabouts, we need well maintained roads.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I wish the road commission would turn N. Territorial Road east of Sutton Road back to gravel so it would be smoother. It is much smoother to travel Joy road(Gravel) from Plymouth to Dexter than taking N. Territorial.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Jack, read the companion article at: You'll see the focus is on the current tax of 19 cent per gallon and how an increase to 33 cents will help fund road maintenance. That article indicates that there won't be enough funds available for road maintenance because we are getting tied up with discretionary projects. All of the County's funding comes from MDOT. MDOT provided Snyder with its figures. Snyder is pushing for the increase. It's all tied together inextricably. You fall into the politician's old pass the buck argument when you seek to delineate responsibility by jurisdiction. County passes buck to State, State passes buck back to County, County and State pass buck to Feds. In the meantime, unnecessary projects are funded, existing roads deteriorate, and those who can least afford them, get new taxes AND a hefty increase in as valorem registration fees for vehicles based on valuations that magically never depreciate past the third year of ownership. And what will these increases be used for? More roundabouts? Puhleeeze.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

A couple of years ago Ann reported that Carpenter from Packard to Washtenaw was going to be redone in 2013, starting in February. What happened to that project?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Are all these projects from the same wizards who decided that Golfside needed to be reduced from 4 lanes to 2 ?

D. Collins

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

What about Scio Church Road from Wagner to Ann Arbor city limits? It has been patched SO many times! I travel that section of road at least 4 times a week and my car has taken the toll.

Eric S

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Stephen: The local portion of the Geddes roundabout is being funded by a school as already noted, and the local part of the State roundabout is mostly by Costco. The Y to T I'm not sure about, but the rest are basically maintenance work with minor improvements while they're at it. They really are putting most of the money into maintenance.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 3:18 a.m.

The article states that 80% of the project is being federally funded...not funded by the school. A lot of contradicting information being floated around. I too thought the school was funding it. So what does "the local portion of the Geddes roundabout" mean?????


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

When will the nightmare at the US-23 - Carpenter Rd. and Washtenaw Ave. be solved? When possible i avoid this intersection.

Ann English

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 11:49 p.m.

Aarog, I can see why Ellsworth is better built to take I-94 ramps than Platt Road is. It has more lanes and there's no location right near the bridge, like Platt Road has. If people could get on and off I-94 at Ellsworth, there would be fewer vehicles at the I-94 US-23 interchange having to quickly trade lanes with others who want to get on or off the freeway that the first vehicles want to get off or on. US-23 isn't a very wide bridge there. Little room for trading lanes. Lorayne54, A roundabout for the US-23 Washtenaw-Carpenter intersection would have to be at least three lanes wide, like the Lee Road-US-23 roundabout is, if not 4 lanes. Built so close to the freeway and with Whitmore Lake Road access, it uses overhead signs to direct motorists to the proper lane for getting to the RIGHT part of Lee Road, US-23, or Whitmore Lake Road. For a roundabout to go in there at Washtenaw-Carpenter, the businesses right at that intersection would have to relocate, the buildings demolished. When a simple entrance ramp from northbound Zeeb Road to eastbound I-94 was put in, a gas station building had to be demolished to make room for that ramp.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

It will be getting the finishing touch: bike lanes!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 7:10 p.m.

Yes lorayn54, a roundabout would be the ideal solution. But with so many factors to consider in that intersection such as the area in size and the 4 corners that would be needed to make this work i don't ever see it happening. The cost for the owners of said properties would be so high the state wont pay for it.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

how about a roundabout? that will solve everything! ;-)


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

We need freeway access built at Ellsworth and 94 to relieve Washtenaw/Carpenter and S. State. The busiest and most accident heavy intersections in the county. Pay for it with the S.State roundabout delayed ten years.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Totally agree. It's been a nightmare for a long time.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

To AA dot com: Please post a schedule (when it is available) of all these projects with start dates and expected completion dates. Please include a map showing the exact location of the work to be done (not just one approximate pointer, but a line showing the start and end points on each road. Thank you.

Kyle Mattson

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Noted JRW!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

Martz and Rawsonville will have a traffic signal plus a left turn lane on Rawsonville Rd. A left turn lane just for that intersection or the entire stretch of Rawsonville Rd? If just that intersection when will Wayne County and Washtenaw cease butting heads on Rawsonville Rd. and make it a 3 lane road?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

"....the roundabout planned for South State Street and Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township." This has got to be the worst idea I have ever seen in this area. That intersection is fine, just fine. Many mega-sized semis travel through that intersection on a daily basis, and a small roundabout will present difficulties for these mega trucks and cars. TOTALLY unnecessary to add a roundabout to this intersection. Wait until one of those trucks tips over.......and closes that intersection. Won't that be fun?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

Give them some credit. The planners probably know about the semis already and might actually size the roundabout appropriately.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

"Fixing crack in the center line of 1 mile of Ellsworth Road from Carpenter to Golfside roads in Pittsfield Township" I guess the major potholes all along Ellsworth from Platt to State don't matter......

Ann English

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

JRW, Perhaps the residents along that stretch of Ellsworth between Carpenter and Golfside spoke up, and the businesses along Ellsworth between Platt and State Street didn't. Residential stretches preferred to business stretches.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Or on Eisenhower Pkwy. from State to Boardwalk ?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

"Adding a small raised median on Carpenter Road just south of Packard Road in Pittsfield Township" So, they are going to add a median instead of resurfacing Carpenter from Washtenaw to Packard, the worst stretch of road for miles around. Smart choice. Typical.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Why do you keep saying the "roundabout in Pittsfield Township"? 75%of the current intersection is in the city of AA not Pittsfield. The only way the new intersection could be "in Pittsfield" is if they put it in the parking lot of the gas station. This begs' the question of how much money is AA putting into the project since it is mostly their intersection.

Ann English

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Thanks, Basic Bob, for having clear information about this area. HermanP gave me the impression that perhaps the city of Ann Arbor proper had annexed this part of Pittsfield to itself. It hasn't.

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

I think your math is backwards. 3/4 of the intersection is Pittsfield (Speedway, the flower shop, and the old township hall/airport). Only the northeast quadrant (Tim Hortons) is Ann Arbor.

Larry White

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

I see they have missed S Grove at the I-94 overpass again. I've lived off S Grove for 19 years and for 19 years the bridge approaches have needed replaced. Oh, that's right, it's the City of Ypsilanti and no citizen's of The City live on that 1/4 mile strip. Duh! Maybe the businesses in that strip could ban together and rattle their sabers.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

Larry, I believe these are County projects, while that terrible section of road of which you speak will be done by the City this summer. I'm not sure, but I think there will be some help from Ypsilanti Township, as well.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

@Sooze: That roadway is the City of Ann Arbor's and their responsibility to maintain. I suggest you voice your concern to the Mayor and your Ward Council representatives.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Stadium Blvd. has all been resurfaced over the last few years and the bridges have been rebuilt. The last remaining part of the street on both sides of the bridges is in terrible shape due to lots of construction traffic. But this paving is not on the list. Why not???


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

This article is about county roads. Stadium is the city's responsibility. And yes, it is awful.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2 p.m.

I completely agree! I am shocked not to see that on this list. They left it a total mess on either side of the bridge.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Its Gotfredson, not Gottfriedson.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Why spend money on a median on Carpenter there? What's that about?


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

it's a pain in the butt that serves very little useful purpose.

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

According to the project page at, it is a "median barrier". Essentially it eliminates the center turn lane to allow pedestrians to safely cross mid-block, one half of the street at a time.

average joe

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

I had understood that the Geddes/Ridge roundabout was being paid for by the South Pointe charter school, based on a previous story. Today's story indicates that it will be paid with mostly federal funds. Who exactly is footing the bill?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

I am not positive but I think the school was paying for the culvert work and not the roundabout. If anyone definitely knows then feel free to jump in here.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

According to the other article today, the road commission is funding these "major projects" but has no money for routine required annual road maintenance. Keeping the roads safe during winter storms to reduce the number of injuries and accidents and the required $1 million a year of preventative maintenance ought to come first before other projects are funded. Why spend money adding a roundabout or reconfiguring a road from a Y to a T intersection when you don't address the basics? The priorities seem a bit upside down.


Sun, Feb 17, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

they do indeed seem upside down but that seems to be the way government works these days.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

@Fernando Sant'Anna Ivanovski: I couldn't agree more, people need to drive safely and take the road conditions into account. I spent seven long winters living in the U.P. driving on snow and ice covered roads earlier in my life, so I have great respect for this factor myself when driving. However the conditions of M-14 when my wife, who is a nurse, commutes to work early in the morning many days in the winter between 5am and 7am and when she comes back in the evening from her shift are often deplorable. She has witnessed many accidents, deaths, terrible injuries and multi-car pileups on that stretch of freeway. Frequently as that hour the road hasn't been touched. As soon as she gets to the Wayne County line the road is suddenly in much better shape always and few accidents. Why? One of the reasons is that Washtenaw County uses less road salt per capita than any other county in the Midwest according to the VP of Sales at the Detroit Salt Company I consulted on this issue. Why?

Fernando Sant'Anna Ivanovski

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

They can try make the roads more safe on the winter but cant make miracles! All the drivers MUST DRIVE MORE CAREFUL during the winter time, but tell me how many care...if everybody cares a little bit more everything would be different. But no, they want to drive 70 miles on a highway covered with snow and icy, they think they can drive cars like snowmobiles. what do you want? 40 more trucks on the streets? Over 600 tons of salt? Streets with heating system? Safety first. You must care about you life, not wait for the road commission.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

@DennisP. You had me until the Snyder rant. Snyder has absolutely nothing to do with Washtenaw County Road Commission decisions. Too bad. What you were sayting made sense until then.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

And, that's exactly the point why we don't need to approve a 73% increase in gas tax from 19 cents to 33 cents. The roundabouts are totally discretionary. The one at State and Ellsworth is a result of the Costco. Well, make Costco pay for it or wait. The cost of a raised median at Carpenter and Packard is more important than resurfacing roads??? This is the kind of infrastructure budgeting Snyder wants the middle class to sacrifice and support??? This is in his own backyard. If he's oblivious to this shell gaming, then his budget deserves to be shelved immediately. If he's not, then he and his staff need to come out and justify these kinds of projects at the expense of maintaining essential existing roads. This is very much like building a $15,000 stone patio and grill entertainment center at your home, when the roof is ready to collapse and the furnace isn't working. You don't do the discretionary projects until you get the essential in order. No matter how much you'd really think everyone would like the patio.

average joe

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

I agree. The "Y to a T" intersection has been that way for decades, & I don't see it in the news as being a dangerous section of road. Let's focus on basic maintenance first.