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Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

$2.3M roundabout construction at State and Ellsworth to start in June

By Amy Biolchini

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:40 p.m. with an additional map.


Draft plans for a new roundabout at the intersection of State Street and Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township. Costco is to the northwest of the intersection.

Courtesy Washtenaw County Road Commission

Construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of State Street and Ellsworth Road south of Ann Arbor in Pittsfield Township likely will start in June, according to the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

The $2.3 million project will install a two-lane roundabout 160 feet wide, replacing a signal-controlled intersection.

The congested intersection is a main north-south route, as many motorists use the route to get from points south to Interstate 94 and the city of Ann Arbor.

The road commission estimated that traffic at the intersection would only continue to increase after the June 2012 opening of the Costco store near the intersection.

The Costco also has sparked plans for other development in the corridor, as plans for two new retail buildings on South State Street north of Ellsworth were announced in October.

A new Tim Hortons location also is in progress at the intersection at the site of the former Enzo's Sports Bar.

Included in the cost of the $2.3 million roundabout project is a $470,000 water main replacement project by the city of Ann Arbor, said Mark McCulloch, project engineer for the road commission.

That's higher than the $135,000 to $350,000 Ann Arbor officials initially estimated they would need to pay for the project when they approved the plan in May.

The city will be replacing a 30-inch-wide pipe that runs from south to north in the middle of State Street that carries water from wells at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport to the city’s Water Treatment Plant.

The road improvement project will be paid for by federal dollars, using a mix of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration and Surface Transportation Program-Urban funds.

In December, the road commission awarded Stantec Consulting Michigan Inc. with a $173,684 contract for field inspection services for the project.

The road commission plans to put the construction project out to bid March 1 and begin construction in June.

State Street will remain open to traffic during the construction.

Ellsworth Road will be closed in phases to through traffic, although access to businesses in the area will be maintained, McCulloch said.

The roundabout will be the 10th in Washtenaw County.

A public meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Superior Township Hall, which is at 3040 N. Prospect Road, for a proposed roundabout at Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township.

View Washtenaw County Road Commission work in a larger map

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


Catherine Bosma

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Sorry if this has been asked/answered already but I'm not going to read through all 100+ comments. Is there a projected completion date? I work in the area and am not looking forward to the lengthened commute!

Captain Splat

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Believe it goes from start of June to mid September

Bianca Victor

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Ridiculous! As a resident living right off the intersection near Stone School Rd., THIS IS NOT GOING TO HELP!!! If you live out here, you just pack your patience and deal with it. With the mall, COSTCO and Tim Horton's (which has been open now for at least two weeks)....we will NEVER ESCAPE the traffic. Roundabouts will only INCREASE accidents where there hasn't been one in a long time. It is just like Washtenaw County to make these decisions without checking to see if WE want it. And to 'Aries'-yep don't like the roundabout at Lee Rd. in Brighton either....even if you have traveled a roundabout extensively and know what to do-it DOES NOT mean that your fellow drivers do....Just A Thought....

Captain Splat

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:59 p.m.

I wonder when the WCRC will distribute materials showing what all the lane closures will be during construction. I've heard it will be one lane in each direction along only one side of State St. or the other for almost the entire length of construction. I wonder how this will impact traffic to and from McDonalds when drivers will have to use the "back entrance" by the Motel 6 instead of the driveway from State St.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Although I'm fine with roundabouts in general, I'm not looking forward to the construction of one here. I don't think it'll do much to help the flow of traffic during really busy times, not to mention that traffic during construction is going to be HORRENDOUS. The last time there was construction in that area, the traffic going south would be backed up all the way past 94, the mall, and even past the Eisenhower intersection during busy times.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

@rasquat, traffic in the area backs up like that almost daily. When the U of m lets out traffic is backed up as far as you can see, and if there is an accident on the highway forget going anywhere on State or Ellsworth (you can include Eisenhower in that too).

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

The article says that State Street will be kept open during construction of the roundabout, but Ellsworth near the intersection will not. Apparently the city learned its lesson that you give us above: KEEP STATE STREET OPEN DURING CONSTRUCTION.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

I agree with everything you said rasquat. There are many commenters who seem to think if you don't want a roundabout HERE, that you do not want one anywhere, are confused by them, etc. I like many of the roundabouts around town. I just think they are trying to put a bandaid on the the bigger problem of Ellsworth and State needing to be widened. I must admit, this one will be handy during the day when the traffic is light.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I like roundabouts. They work so much better than the old "stop and waste time" method. Keep them coming!


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Sweet..when are the roads in Ann Arbor going to get repaired?

Elizabeth Jahn

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

I couldn't vote in the poll because of the options. I don't hate roundabouts or traffic circles, as long as they are well designed and a concerted effort is made to provide effective public education on how to use them. I don't love them, nor hate them, and I certainly have many opinions related to them. The Brighton roundabout is an absolute nightmare. Whereas the Geddes Rd roundabout was designed more effectively with decent signage and it has helped with traffic flow, although I personally avoid it at rush hour. The Huron Pkwy/Nixon roundabout is fine, but so often I find cars unnecessarily coming to a complete stop there, seemingly afraid to enter the circle - even with no traffic. It's very frustrating and I don't understand why there was a need at that intersection. It would have been better placed down the road at Nixon/Green Rd. I'm afraid of the impact of the Ellsworth/State St roundabout, since it is a highly congested area. And the construction is going to be a mess. Since it is clear that roundabouts are here to stay, I really wish the state or county would put together an ad campaign - maybe even put up some billboards with instructions or guidelines and possibly send out pamphlets to residents, or just put up better instructional signage at the actual roundabouts. Even though some feel that it should be intuitive, it is clear that there is lack of understanding of who has the right of way and what you need to do as you approach the traffic circle. They can be safer and more efficient, but there has been a serious lack of education. I know that resources are available through some websites, but not everyone knows where to find the information.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

Before the three went in near Skyline High, I googled roundabouts and found an animated, educational website from Arizona. It showed how a vehicle would slow down at a roundabout and turn right, go through, turn left, even turn around, in a two-lane roundabout. Paul W. Smith had, and may still have, his own educational video online about how to use roundabouts. We see cars smoothly using roundabouts behind him, in the background. But some videos online are not helpful for learning how to use roundabouts, such as those shot from the interior of a car, by a passenger. No matter who shoots the video from inside a car, it isn't as helpful as those shot from outside a vehicle.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Oh, one other thing to consider.....with Sears Driving School right up the street and the Pittsfield Twp. Senior Center on the southwest corner of Ellsworth & State, it's going to get ugly....very ugly! Oh the humanity!

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Sears Driving School takes students out on Sundays. Yes, hopefully they'll take student drivers to that intersection during NON-rush hours and Sundays. The roundabout will first be open during summer vacation, when there's maximum daylight.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

I like roundabouts. They're like big kids' Go Kart racing. And replacing or upgrading that water supply pipe is a great idea. The city gets its water from the Huron River and those South side wells. When the river nearly dried up last summer the importance of having a second water source likely became clearer. The water department is one of the better city services. I hope they can keep it up (psi) despite all of the new DDA development and population increase.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

At least with Pittsfield Twp. Fire Station No. 3, Sakstrup's Towing and Huron Valley Ambulance all within a mile or less, the emergency response time should be great!

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

You got me starting to wonder if they have some other ideas in the making, in case the railroad crossing on Ellsworth has been slowing down some emergency response times. Pave Morgan to Stone School Road? Probably not. If there's a long freight train blocking Ellsworth, Survival Flight helicopters could be used. A roundabout at State and Ellsworth would help emergency response time at rush hour, especially if THREE lanes went into the State Street SOUTHBOUND lanes.

Emily Belanger

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Speaking as one who lived in (traffic) circle central (aka Boston, MA), I can testify that they do not smooth traffic flow, but can increase it tremendously. The only real need for them is when you have three or more roads converging at a single point; otherwise, a traffic light is much more effective. Wondering how much we are going to spend on building a less efficient intersection.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

You think one should go in at Huron-Revena-Dexter-Jackson? Huron River Drive-Mast-Joy-Central in Dexter certainly doesn't need one, or any traffic signal, for that matter. Stop signs work just fine there.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

My ONLY complaint about roundabouts is that so few people know how to use them. It's SO frustrating to sit and wait behind someone that's treating a roundabout like a 4-way stop and waits for the intersection to completely clear before they'll dare to move into it. Of course, being a roundabout, the intersection NEVER clears, so there we all sit and wait until the person finally realizes that and rounds up the courage to drive along.... If Ann Arbor is going to continue its love affair with putting roundabouts everywhere, I really think they need to find some money to put out a decent education program so that people won't continue to stop traffic while they try to figure out how to use them.

Peter Eckstein

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

I hate roundabouts, but I hate traffic lights with interminable waits even more. The ones we have--like the one on Geddes Road--would be safer if they were better illuminated at night, as they are much trickier to negotiate when the signs and road markings are harder to read.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

The roundabouts on Geddes are a vast improvement in any condition, including untrainable drivers. I don't use them every day, but I am surprised how often people stop unnecessarily.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Could you extend the map to show Airport? I would like assurances that the construction will not bottle up access to Airport at the same time that Ellsworth is disrupted. Given the many years that competitors managed the political process to prevent Costco from coming to Ann Arbor, I am suspicious of a project that blocks access to it.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

This area is very different from the Skyline High area, what with an expressway nearby, and roads not too close together. While the Skyline High roundabouts went in, Laurentide, Parkridge and Robinwood constituted a 3-minute detour to Wagner Road. Very residential. But this intersection is almost all business and municipal. Airport Boulevard and Research Park Drive had better be kept open this summer, when the roundabout goes in.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

I just added a Google map to the story to show where the airport is.

Dog Guy

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Black hole at 12:00, Admiral Ackbar!

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

We asked readers the same poll questions in 2010 when the roundabout at Whittaker and Stony Creek roads opened in Ypsilanti Township. At that time, 45% said they hated roundabouts, 37% said they love them and 16% said they didn't care. Interesting to see the results now: 51% said they hate them, 43% said they love them and 6% said no opinion. Has anyone been in a crash or near-miss at a roundabout in the county?

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Amy, I don't know if you were on eastbound or westbound M-14 getting off on Maple, but the near-miss I've had at the middle roundabout (right off westbound M-14) was because I didn't yield the right-of-way to the right-turner. I was going straight through, northbound, in the same direction the other motorist was.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

I was in a near miss on Geddes when the driver in front of me stopped...twice...when there were no other vehicles coming....or even on the road ahead of us.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

Nearly every time I use the roundabout at Whittaker and Stony Creek (NE-bound Stony Creek to Northbound Whittaker) I am dodging cars who do not yield correctly.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

John Q & Frank Lee, thanks for the input. I would agree with you Frank, every time I'm at a roundabout there's a lot of inconsistency in the way that people use the intersection. Many people come to a full stop; some use turn signals. I frequent the roundabout at the end of the off ramp from M-14 to Maple Rd. -- and I like that I don't have to stop and wait for a signal to change before entering the intersection.

Thinking over here

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

John Q: What are the sizes of the roundabouts you're talking about vs this proposed one?

Frank Lee

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4 p.m.

I travel through 4 roundabouts in Washtenaw County on my way to and from work every day. I have had a few near misses but no accidents. More often than not, I witness drivers who do not know how to navigate the roundabouts properly. It is particularly frustrating at intersections that used to have stop signs and are now roundabouts. Too many drivers stop at the yield sign just as they stopped before, which negates the whole intersection improvement all together. There is also a large number of drivers who act as if only one vehicle at a time can enter the roundabout from any one direction. I have posted an informative comment above with pertinent information.

John Q

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

I've seen a couple of fender benders at some of the high traffic volume roundabouts in Oakland County. They were minor accidents and nothing like the carnage and destruction that you get when someone blows through a light at a traditional intersection. The roundabouts in Oakland County manage 10 times the traffic that this one does but the hand-wringers are already predicting doom-and-gloom.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

I like roundabouts in general but... They need to be larger diameter to accommodate more traffic at higher speeds. The two roundabouts on Maple Rd near Skyline High are so small and tight that they are effectively 4-way stop intersections. The State-Ellsworth intersection is already built with no available land so the roundabout will be so small that all traffic in both all four directions will have to slow to a near-stop to negotiate the roundabout. Add to this the already high traffic volume at rush hour and I am afraid we will see long backups. The argument that slow speeds in roundabouts are good because they lessen the severity of accidents does not make sense to me. If that's the goal let's put speed bumps everywhere, including expressways.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

The longest backup I've seen on the eastbound M-14 service drive from Miller Road to the southernmost of the three roundabouts on Maple Road is SIX cars. Southbound traffic approaching that roundabout fast made us wait. But we never have WESTBOUND traffic approaching that roundabout, since going through means getting onto an eastbound M-14 ramp. Cars always yield to me making a left turn onto northbound Maple at that roundabout, if they're coming from the SOUTH.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Why don't they spend the money to pave State from Eisenhower to expressway, or an on/off ramp or two...or just about anywhere...A2 roads are terrible. Well this takes Speedway off my gas station list...sorry Speedway.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:32 p.m.

Opening the Costco nearby put the Speedway at the southeast corner ON my gas station list. They offer gas at lower prices since Costco opened. Sometimes the Citgo at State Circle offers inexpensive gasoline since Costco opened nearby.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

During heavy traffic periods this roundabpout will result in "grid lock". Heavy traffic is most of the day. It's right next to a senior center. How in the world will any pedestrian get across that intersection. The WCRC doesn't listen to anyone. They simply want to expand their bureacracy. Building this allows them to make work for themselves. Improving it (oxymoron) will also make work for themselves. Tearing it down will make work for themselves. Installing yet another bad solution will create work for themselves. They don't care if they ever get it right.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

I am a fan of roundabouts however I wonder how the traffic lights 100 or so yards away on State and the one on Ellsworth will negatively impact the flow the roundabout provides during high traffic times.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

At the meeting last year in the Pittsfield township hall all right lights on Ellsworth and State will stay. There may be some change in light timing. At this meeting they also said the intersection would stay open thought out the construction.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

They do not show the road far enough to show the light at Research Park Dr/Airport and State St. It is just north of the edge of the rendering. They have not said anything to the businesses in the park/s about that light being removed. Especially since they just spent a fair amount 'improving' that light intersection and putting in the Michigan left.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Spoke to early, from the rendering looks like they will be removed.

Soulful Adrenaline

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Look kids Big Ben.

Soulful Adrenaline

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Look kids Big Ben.

Frank Lee

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Roundabouts are great, but far too many people do not know how to navigate them properly. I am providing a link to MDOT's webpage regarding roundabouts and quoting the most important information. "You don't have to come to a complete stop at the yield sign in a roundabout, but you should slow down as you approach. Look to your left. If there are no vehicles in the roundabout, you can enter the roundabout without stopping. Keep driving once you have entered the roundabout. Stop only to avoid a collision. Vehicles traveling in a roundabout have the right of way. Don't stop to let other vehicles in. Entering vehicles must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout." MDOT Roundabouts:,1607,7-151-9615_53039---,00.html


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Pretty sure that Tim Horton's is up and running, or at least it looked like it. And roundabouts are not actually hard.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

The same concerns were given by people when the roundabout went in at Whittaker Rd. and Stony Creek Rd. in Ypsi Township. None of the supposed problems have occurred. Instead it has made an intersection with constant backups one in which I rarely have to stop from any direction. This roundabout will help the traffic at this busy intersection, and people will not have as much difficulty as you think they will. They are really not that difficult to navigate if there's only one of them. If you put three of them together (like Lee and 23 in Brighton) it does lead to confusion and a mess.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

I agree- the roundabout at Stoney Creek and Whittaker has fixed the mess that used to be there. Now, if they could just do something to fix the Whittaker and Textile intersection...

Alex Swary

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I'm fine with them creating a roundabout here. People will learn how to use it quickly enough, it's not rocket science. However, I'm dreading the hassle the closure of this intersection will create during the construction of the roundabout.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

People can use Research Park Drive if they usually turn east on Ellsworth, and Airport Boulevard if they usually turn west on Ellsworth.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Article says State will stay open, Ellsworth will be periodically closed.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

It was my understanding that it is not going to be closed during construction. That is what the seniors were told.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

If we really need to build something with money we don't have, how about widening the US12 bridge over US23? Designed in 1959. Still only two lanes. Drive time traffic often backs up several miles in each direction. Why not 5 lanes from Platt road to I-94? That new, fancy and mostly unnecessary roundabout sure will be fun - if we can get there.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Much work went into planning this several years ago. However, when the economy slowed down, the state froze many plans that were still in various 'planning' stages. This was one of them.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

It's been on the long range plan for more than 15 years. I was surprised they replaced the bridge deck without widening it. The recommendation was to widen the entire section from Munger Rd. to Saline.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

As has been done in other cities (e.g. Sedona AZ), the county should have officers present for a week or so for on-site instruction and help in facilitating traffic movement. Despite the fact that roundabouts are simple, intuitive means of improving the flow of automobiles through intersections, some number of people need clear instruction that boosts their competence, confidence, and comfort levels.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

"That's higher than the $135,000 to $350,000 Ann Arbor officials initially estimated they would need to pay for the project when they approved the plan in May." This statement is incorrect. If you go back and read the comments from the City in the previous article; it states the City's share is estimated at $135,000 and an "addtional" $350,000 was estimated to be needed for the water main.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

In an era of tight road budgets, you would think there would be higher priorities. Spending $ 2.4 million on Saline AA road at I 94 would have been a better idea.


Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

That's interesting. I never considered on ramps to be "one way streets", but maybe so. It's a little bit different than your usual turn onto a one way street because you are actually cutting across traffic to get to that on ramp. RE: "Left turns are allowed at red lights onto one-way streets." Just a warning that while true, it sometimes has to be explained to the police officer who pulls you over!

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

The traffic signals at I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline road don't bother me as much as those at Maple-Jackson or Washtenaw-Carpenter. If you're on northeast-bound Ann Arbor-Saline and want to turn onto westbound I-94, you can turn LEFT onto that one-way ramp after coming to a full stop at the red light, if there's no near oncoming traffic going southwest on Saline AA Road. Left turns are allowed at red lights onto one-way streets.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

I believe it's already slated for reconstruction.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Just wait. Next year they will want to widen State Rd. south to Textile, but not as far as Michigan Ave. It will knock a few minutes off the trip to Costco and Briarwood for the Harvest PTA members. Too bad they will have to move the airport runway.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Could not agree more. Also consider this intersection was just resurfaced and improved before Costco opened. What a waste.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

It is common to see semi-trailer trucks use intersection. It will be interesting to see them enter, navigate the circle, and exit the roundabout. My guess, they will be slow to enter, thus slowing traffic flow. They will need to utilize both lanes within the circle. And mix this with drivers who lack the confidence to drive through a roundabout. At times, we may see quite a bit of congestion at State and Ellsworth. I hope my conjecture is wrong. Because I want the $2.8 million to be well spent.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

Semi-trailer trucks make wide right turns. Hopefully other motorists will take this marking on each semi as seriously at roundabout intersections as at traffic light intersections.

Ed Kimball

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Semis will slow traffic less than a red light.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

"they will be slow to enter, thus slowing traffic flow".....compared to STOPPING for a signal, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for the traffic que to clear, and hopefully enough traffic clears that you don't have to wait for another cycle. Do you see the difference now?


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

I should contact the RCWC and suggest that the right lane on southbound State to westbound Ellsworth continue until Airport drive to allow for extra time for for merging. That right lane already handles quite a few cars (I would estimate about 20% of traffic southbound turns right especially during heavy traffic hours) . It's good to see the lane used to remove people from the circle however there needs to be time for merging and to handle those who would like to turn right into the Tyner parking lot.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Whatever the merits of improving access into the roundabout maze, please do not suggest that the construction should impede Airport as well simultaneously. Traffic headed from Southbound State to Westbound Ellsworth can proceed via Airport. This will undoubtedly become the preferred route for those who do not have the stomach for the roundabout.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Total crap.....


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

strike 2


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Please city/county road commission, consider a traffic roundabout at Nixon/Green/Dhu Varren. This is the worst constructed intersection in the State of Michigan.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

Not the worst. The worst is the Barton Dr to M-14 on ramp stop sign. The Green/Nixon/Dhu Varren might be second though. That one sucks as people never seem to be able to understand who actually has the ROW. I only take that road in the evening on my way to work, but that intersection has nearly caught me in an accident a couple times. I have always felt this needs to be a stop light, but a roundabout would be even better.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

OK...let's address people's concern about pedestrians..... HOW MUCH PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC DO YOU THINK THAT INTERSECTIONS SEES????? Take a look at what is in the area....the crosswalks are NOT going to be a problem... The biggest problem will be the SAME problem that's always everywhere else on the road.....inept drivers that probably shouldn't be allowed to operate a motor vehicle in the first place. THOSE people will cause problems at the roundabouts....everyone else who is a competent driver will enjoy improved traffic flow at this intersection.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

If pedestrian considerations affect the surface of this roundabout, let them do to the surface what was done at the Nixon-Huron Parkway roundabout. Put in rough strips to slow traffic down even more, and put sidewalks through the roundabout island.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Actually, considering there are no houses nearby and low density work force, it is surprising the number of pedestrians I see every day walking along State St. I am guessing it is because the bus doesn't go south of Ellsworth and they are walking to jobs in the industrial parks about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile south of there.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

"everyone else who is a competent driver will enjoy improved traffic flow..." UNTIL they are smacked by someone who is not so competent. Michigan is a no fault insurance state, so guess who is going to pay for the damage to the auto owned by the competent driver. Avoidance of the intersection will be the only safe choice.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Billy - I believe Pittsfield has a major plan for their part of that intersection to drastically change the makeup to be 40-50% residential. The Pittsfield township website has a master plan which shows high density mixed construction with three or four story buildings for that intersection and it would increase pedestrian traffic. Planning ahead is key in this day and age.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Hope your insurance is paid up....


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

We sure need to have one of those for 2.3 million dollars. I can't think of anything better to borrow money from China to spend it on....................


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Grants and federal funds are paying for the majority of this. You need to ask yourself if this project is important enough to borrow money from China for or not and do you want to add this to the debt already being piled upon our children and grandchildren. That is what most reasonable people do when they are broke like the federal government...................the Soviet Union went broke, Greece is broke, France is taxing people like crazy; get ready it is coming here soon.....................


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

Sure Mike, we can let our infrastructure rot. Good idea.

Frank Lee

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

"The road improvement project will be paid for by federal dollars, using a mix of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration and Surface Transportation Program-Urban funds". None of your suggestions fall under the criteria required for these grants. Yes, your line of reasoning rings hollow with me because it's not logical.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Amy and Frank - Costco doesn't just give money away, you will pay for it in the goods you buy from them. If the water main needs replacing then replace it...............but if not, then save that money and use it on things like schools, police protection, firemen, and other basic servcies which we are struggling to pay for as a nation. I'm sure that line of reasoning rings hollow with you but I tried...............

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Costco additionally chipped in $500,000 to the Road Commission a year ago for this project, which paid for the design and right-of-way study costs. Leftover funds are being applied toward constrction engineering and material testing, according to WCRC.

Frank Lee

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

"Included in the cost of the $2.3 million roundabout project is a $470,000 water main replacement project by the city of Ann Arbor"

sandy schopbach

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

I got used to roundabouts in my years in France. I'm a big fan. They work brilliantly. Except... Except when traffic is heavy, and then they make things worse. This is a TERRIBLE idea for this intersection. The three on Geddes are fine. The ones by the new high school are fine. But this just won't work. There are too many cars on State. I hope I'm wrong, because I know this is going to go ahead. I do wish they'd reconsider though.

Ann English

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

I know, the M-14 and Maple ones, the US-23 and Geddes ones, have some one-way traffic, with those one-way highway ramps. The big difference with State-Ellsworth is that both roads are two-way, which will make it an intersection where we'll have to watch for traffic in more directions. Left-turn and through, keep in that inner lane. Right-turn, use the outer lane of the roundabout, is how I understand it. Hope there'll be enough room for all those through and left-turners in one lane.

Jake C

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 9 p.m.

It's 2 lanes going from Southbound State to Eastbound Ellsworth, but considering it reduces down to 1 lane so quickly, it's only useful for cars turning into the gas station immediately, or speed demons who want to pass someone on the right before the road merges back to 1 lane. So for all intents & purposes it may as well be one lane for safety reasons.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Exactly! The left turning southbound from State to Elsworth is TWO lanes...this will be no fun at all! So...I will avoid that intersection at all costs...Tim Horton donuts...not worth it!


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

I think this roundabout will be better than Lee Road at Brighton. I absolutely hate that one! I am concerned about the Pittsfield Seniors trying to get to the senior center. For some it will be difficult.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

Although those roundabouts at Lee Road may be a bit confusing to the first timer they made an incredible improvement to that interchange. Traffic used to be a nightmare there and you could spend 5-10min+ waiting to get through those lights. My only complaint about them is the lack of lighting at night which complicates navigation through them for those who are unfamiliar with them.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

I like roundabouts but the one at Lee Road is admittedly terrible - I got sent off in the wrong direction there once trying to figure out which sign was for which part of the roundabout (in the dark, no less). The one shown above is simple.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

The seniors were already met with over a year ago and given a special class on what is going to happen and how to handle that intersection. In many ways, it may be safer for them getting into and out of once they get used to it.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

The crazy cross walks for pedestrians, the volume of traffic, up to three lanes flowing into this roundabout….going to be a lot of carnage. On the plus side the ambulance service is close. Well there be grand stands so people can watch the mayhem? Do the great planners for this design realize that if people are using the crosswalks that cars could have to stop twice if they are going north/south or east/west? When the cars stop for the people in the cross walks that means the whole roundabout will come to a stop. Oh this is going to be fun.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

You do realize that the light at Research Park Dr/Airport and State St is NOT being removed. This means that when that truns red, the 'flow' just got a clog. At certain times of the day this is going to be very interesting. As well as when there are accidents on the highway and Ellsworth becomes the alternate routes for this. Also, how are the pedestrians from the Social Security office going to get across Ellsworth to get the bus home?

Ed Kimball

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

When cars stop for a pedestrian, the other sections of the roundabout still allow flow for much of the traffic. Do you really expect a lot of pedestrians at this roundabout?


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Vehicle supremacy, ignore peds?


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

I like roundabouts.. im not so sure that this is a good spot for one.. that intersection is very busy at times and most people cant figure out how to use them..


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Grye. I find the bottleneck is less because of the light and more because Ellsworth and state need to be widened east and south of the intersection. Roundabout won't help if you can't flow out due to stopped traffic heading east on Ellsworth or south on state.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

The traffic flows North and South can be very heavy. This will allow continual traffic movement without backing up vehicles at a signal.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

I disagree....I would say MOST people can figure them out just fine. If you CAN'T figure a roundabout out (you know they are even designed to be intuitive?) then you REALLY REALLY REALLY have no business driving a car because you are a major threat to everyone else on the road. Simply put, there would be FAR less accidents on the road if they were just a little more stringent in licensing requirements.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Agreed. I don't mind them in general, but putting one at this intersection is a terrible idea.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

I always thought these traffic circles were difficult to negotiate and a terrible idea. But the figures on safety and traffic throughput are striking. Fatalities drop to virtually zero. Minor accidents and traffic volume both improve. I guess I'll have to pull my head out of the sand and deal with it.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

My mom coming up on 80 years old has actually learned to appreciate them, too. Specifically, she feels the rules are simple. Or should I just say "the rule" because there's really just one, and that's to yield to approaching cars.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

I can't wait to see the carnage. The local body shops will love it. This is a really dumb idea.

Jake C

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

I use the ones at Maple/M-14 and Geddes/US-23 regularly, and I've never seen an accident on them. On the other hand I've seen multiple accidents at Plymouth Road/US-23 and Jackson/Zeeb. So by your logic, should I conclude that all stoplight intersections are dangerous and should be changed over immediately?


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

I use one on Huron Parkway and there is ALWAYS car parts and accidents in them. People think as they come up to one they just go. Dont even look.

Ed Kimball

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I use one or more of the three roundabouts on Geddes near US-23 nearly everyday and have yet to see or hear of an accident on them. And if there is one, people will likely be traveling at such a low speed that no one gets seriously hurt. In fact, I have not even heard of an accident at the miserably-designed roundabouts at Lee Road and US-23 in Brighton. Apparently, even a badly-designed roundabout is safer than an intersection with traffic lights.

Tom Todd

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

No one yields to the vehicle in the roundabout and on coming traffic does not slow down to posted limit. these are a bad idea.


Mon, Jan 14, 2013 : 1 p.m.

You only yield to the vehicle if it is approaching and you cannot enter into the roundabout without inhibiting their flow. Otherwise, enter and keep traffic moving. I see too many people at Nixon/Huron that sit and wait for traffic to clear the roundabout, then wait a while to see if anyone might be possibly entering before proceeding. Drivers that do not understand how a roundabout works need to receive training.