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Posted on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Fourth Ave. reconstruction in downtown Ann Arbor starts next month, followed by Madison St. in June

By Ryan J. Stanton

In addition to a $6.5 million reconstruction of Miller Avenue starting next week, a few other major road construction projects in Ann Arbor are in the pipeline.

Three other city streets are scheduled to undergo reconstruction this year, including Fourth Avenue downtown between Huron and Liberty (May to June), Madison Street from Seventh to Main (June to November) and Forest Avenue from South University to Hill (August to October).


The bumpy intersection of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street as it looked on Wednesday afternoon.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The Fourth Avenue project involves replacing a 4-inch underground water main with a 12-inch water main from the south side of Huron to Washington. City officials believe the existing water main is undersized and doesn't provide adequate fire protection to the area.

Following the installation of the water main, Fourth Avenue's asphalt pavement will be completely replaced from Huron to Liberty.

One lane of northbound traffic will be maintained during the project, and Washington will be closed intermittently at its intersection with Fourth.

The city has scheduled the project to make sure it is completed before the start of the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which takes place July 17-20.

Many other city streets will get a fresh coat of pavement this year as part of the city's $3.6 million street resurfacing program, as previously reported by

Among the many streets on the resurfacing list are State Street from Oakbrook to Eisenhower (April to June) and Barton Drive from Pontiac to Plymouth (August to October).

According to an updated list obtained by on Wednesday, Packard Road from Anderson to Eisenhower also is scheduled to be repaved between July and October.

That wasn't on the list of resurfacing projects approved by the City Council on Monday because it's a standalone project bid through the Michigan Department of Transportation, taking advantage of federal funding, said Liz Rolla, senior project manager for the city's project management unit.

The city's Capital Improvements Plan shows more than $1 million is planned to be spent on the Fourth Avenue reconstruction project, including $330,000 for street construction, $400,000 for stormwater improvements and $300,000 for water main replacement.

About $1.7 million is shown in the CIP for the reconstruction of Madison Street. No funds are identified for underground utility work, though water main replacement and stormwater upgrades are planned.

About $1.2 million is planned for the reconstruction of Forest Avenue, including $750,000 for street construction and $450,000 for stormwater improvements. will report more on the details of traffic control plans for other projects as they come up. For more information, visit

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Vince Caruso

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Glad to see our road projects taking into account the large amount of runoff that effects very high flood hazard and water body pollution levels. Thanks for the Madison update, this is a very important project on many levels including stormwater management in a very over taxed Allen's Creek watershed. We would like to see additional porous roadways tried with many of the benefits that accompany them, as is being used all across the US: almost all pollution elimination, up to 70% quieter, no black ice, lower cost, up to 70% less salt, low heat island effect, good for street trees, recharge groundwater and EPA recommended with support of federal funds. This type of retrofitting of our urban landscape can have very large impacts on quality of life and environmental benefits especially with the larger rain storms predicted for Michigan.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

I'm not sure only a Northbound lane makes much sense on 4th. You can go north on Division, Main, and Ashley, and turn onto all those streets. From Huron you can turn south on 5th and without 4th....that's it. You can't turn left onto Main. Going to make turning rush hour. And is the University going to be done with their construction by August? Because closing Forest while East U and Church are still narrowed and partially blocked off seems like a mess.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

@Ryan - Two in a row is not ideal, but currently it'll be 4 out of 5 going north with easy access points. And as agoblue smartly points out your next option south is 1st that is a contruction mess right now. (I mean no one take State seriously as a southbound exit from the campus area, do they?). You can't turn left onto Main from Huron, and if you have to turn on 5th or State to get to Liberty to turn left onto Main, what's the point of getting off of 5th anyway? Mark my words, all the University traffic leaving rush hour is going ot have the left turn lane of Huron backed up through the next intersection.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

The points about further restricting the southbound options are valid. With Fourth northbound-only, you get a choice of Fifth or a hobbled First St.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Makes sense to me to keep Fourth Ave. northbound open, while we have Fifth Ave. southbound. Would two southbound-only roads in a row really be better?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Agree 100% about the lack of southbound options... to further complicate the issue, First Street (a one-way southbound street) has been reduced from three lanes down to one between Washington and Liberty (due to the construction of a large building), leaving even fewer options for southbound travel downtown.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Here's the traffic control plan for Madison and an image showing what the bump-outs/crosswalks on Madison might look like. This was shared by the city at a neighborhood meeting in January.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

More on the Madison project from the city: "The West Madison Street Improvement Project is located between South Seventh Street and South Main Street. Road work and pedestrian improvements are major project components and include replacement of the existing composite pavement (asphalt over concrete) with a new full depth section comprised of sand, stone, and asphalt layers, and the removal and replacement of concrete curb and gutter, sidewalk ramps and select areas of sidewalk, and driveway approaches. "Stormwater management is another focal point that will utilize infiltration and detention techniques such as bio-retention (rain gardens) and perforated/upsized storm sewer pipe to achieve improved stormwater quality and reduced flows into Allen Creek. Lastly, other work involves the replacement of a distribution water main, the addition of a designated bicycle lane along the north side of the street, and provisions for curb bump outs along the south side to better delineate parking, furnish an area for the rain gardens, and also allow for shortened crosswalks on the west side of the intersections along the street."


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:06 a.m.

asphalt, why not concrete so it lasts until 2050? Is concete still that much more expensive than oil based solutions?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

Remember the 5th Ave. disaster? Here we go again.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

It is a much needed road improvement, it HAS to be done. Currently I just drive in the opposite lane to avoid the rubble when there is no traffic coming. I am forced to do the same at Forest ave as well.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Let's all hope not. That Garage Mahal construction was a disaster of project management. Let's hope this is a real two months and not a DDA two months (what most of us call a "year").

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

I don't think this is Fifth Avenue all over again. Fifth Avenue was completely closed for two years for the underground parking garage construction, and then got a fresh coat of pavement. Fourth Avenue will be partially closed, with northbound traffic maintained, for maybe two months for street repairs and some water main work.