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Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Resurfacing of Ann Arbor-Saline Road pushed back to 2014

By Amy Biolchini


Cars drive over potholes on Ann Arbor-Saline Road at the Interstate 94 overpass Monday afternoon in Ann Arbor. The roadway was slated to be resurfaced this year, but the funding fell short.

Daniel Brenner |

Resurfacing of Ann Arbor-Saline Road over Interstate 94 at the edge of Ann Arbor has been pushed back to 2014 after the Michigan Department of Transportation could not find the funding to make the project happen this year.

The project has been in the planning process since 2011 and is a partnership between MDOT, the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the city of Ann Arbor.

A year ago, the project won a $372,960 grant through the state’s Transportation Economic Development Fund. At that time the plan was to begin construction in May 2013.

However, MDOT couldn’t find the $200,000 to $300,000 in its 2013 budget to fund its portion of the $1 million project, said Roy Townsend, director of the WCRC.

Kari Arend, spokeswoman for MDOT, confirmed that the resurfacing project is on MDOT’s 2014 schedule.

The heavily-traveled roadway serves just as its name implies -- as a main connector in a commercialized corridor between Saline and Ann Arbor. It's also riddled with potholes.

The resurfacing will be paid for by the city, the road commission and MDOT in three separate pieces according to ownership.

The state owns the overpass, the city owns the roadway north of the bridge and the road commission owns the roadway south of the bridge.

The city and road commission are responsible for approximately $700,000 of the project, Townsend said. With the grant money, both are left with a $327,000 bill to split.

Each of the three entities in the partnership has to find funding and secure permits for the project they have ownership over. The road commission will be coordinating all of the funding and managing the project so that one contractor will be hiring for the work.

MDOT is considering incorporating bike lanes and sidewalks into the overpass, Townsend said.

On the bright side, Townsend said the delay means people traveling to and from Saline will not have to deal with two major construction projects this summer, as construction of a roundabout at State and Ellsworth roads will begin in June. photographer Melanie Maxwell took her camera to the street Monday to see the potholes up close and personal.

In this video clip, she drove south on Ann Arbor-Saline Road across the overpass in the left lane. Let us know what you think of the road's condition in the comments.

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



Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

What a shame! I've been waiting for this road to be fixed for years! And now another year..? I wonder if it takes (God forbid!) a critical accident on that road (due to its bad condition) so that MDOT finally pays attention.

Cheryl Hieber

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:32 a.m.

The surface over the freeway isn't so bad, but the before and after are just awful. During football season the City lengthens the timing of the red lights, and this year they stayed red longer during the holiday season. Does anybody know why we are still sitting idle for such long periods of time at red lights up and down Ann Arbor-Saline Road and Eisenhower? There are gridlocks there every day.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

As someone who drives this everyday, it is embarrassing that this isn't getting taken care of. The whole stretch is bad, not just one lane, or one section. It is a main road that should take priority over many of the other proposed/planned projects. I guess those who make these decisions don't have to drive this area very often or this project would get done. Too bad we can't make an insurance claim for car wear and tear.

Frank Lee

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

The state might have an easier time securing funds if they knew where their/our money was going. The Treasury Department openly admits that it has been over 6 years since funds have even been audited! We have some of the worst roads in the nation and they don't even bother to audit the funds used to maintain them in over 6 years….Unbelievable! It's easier to ask the people to pay more at the pump and Secretary of State than to question government spending. REF:

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

Welcome to Rick Snyder's Michissippi Money for tax breaks for his rich buddies No money to repair roads used by the state's serfs. GN&GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

I'm not blaming the governor for deteriorating roads. I'm blaming him for his current priorities. GN&GL

Basic Bob

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

The condition of the roads have been deteriorating long before I moved to Michigan in 1999. I could not blame the current governor, or even the last governor for that condition.

Elijah Shalis

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

A roundabout on state st is about the worst idea ever.

Kent Jocque

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

If you think it's bad going across that bridge in a car you should try it riding in one of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority's buses. That'll rattle your teeth! Also, I walked across that bridge every day on my way to work one summer and I often ran into fellow pedestrians there. It's something of an unsafe transit when you're not in a vehicle, as any walker (or biker) will attest. -Kent


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

Unreal. That is easily one of the worst stretches of road in the Metro Detroit/Ann Arbor area.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

I really wish, especially in such a progressive area, that we would begin to see better construction habits. Why is it that we feel as though simply resurfacing the roadway with asphalt is going to solve the problem? In 5 years, the road will be right back in the condition it is in now. All it does is allow for instant gratification and a quick money-saving project. This is not sustainable and I can't believe Ann Arbor isn't pushing for something different. Primary roadways should be reconstructed using concrete with a deep base. This allows for a smooth ride for 10-20 years, if not more. This would save the local municipalities, the state, and the federal government more money in the long-term and provide an appealing, smooth roadway for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Between the condition of the road and the horrendous traffic there I'm just glad i rarely ever have to travel that stretch of road.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

And in the very next article dealing with the city budget in this online publication it says "The street repair fund balance ($25 million) decreased by $4.2 million due to planned use of fund balance for construction projects, including funds set aside for the Stadium bridges project that were repurposed after state and federal grant funding was received." So since we "repurposed" the money for a bridge we should have been repairing ourselves by getting a handout from Dingle just prior to his re-election in 2010, why not use that? Unless it has been "repurposed" into Art or putting in more bicycle lanes (or roundabouts which are useless during rush hour since the traffic to the left is endless and never gives way). Re roundabouts: can't even begin to list the minutes/hours I have waited to get off US 23 at Geddes in the morning, and try to get on US 23 at Geddes in the evening. Put the lights back - they work better.


Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Last summer the city did a lot of major road projects and this year looks like the same. Why would the city use the street funds for anything but streets it owns?


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Let me get this straight - Ann Arbor is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on "Art" and yet we have to be held hostage by the MDOT over "their portion". This road allows the thousands of paying customers watching UM football to get to and from the games. Which probably generates a boat-load of taxes for Ann Arbor and the State of Michigan. So could we go ahead and do it ourselves (and then send the bill to MDOT and let our Senators know that they need to do something about getting us paid?). And never mind adding the bicycle lanes - I have been doing a count of the number of bicycles I see using them every day I am at work at the UM, VA, and other locations (which is every day), and I have counted 17 since July 2012. That's "17" vs the hundreds of thousands of motorists who have been inconvenienced by the artificial narrowing of the streets in Ann Arbor. At this point I think that the taxpayers in this city should be provided with data from the City Council that documents how many people use the bicycle lanes in a calender year. If the number is less than 1% of the total population using the road, then the bicycle lanes should be removed and the roads restored to two lanes. And that's being very generous to bicyclists, considering a lot of decisions the city makes would probably have to be based on a much higher percentage of people benefitting (like at least 10-20%). As for sidewalks - well I have yet to see anyone walking along Ann Arbor Saline Road in any section of it. Considering it has some residential areas interspersed with mega shopping blocks there might be some potential for pedestrians, but I've never seen any. Even in front of the residential areas. And since there are long stretches of nothing - who would want to walk?


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

Again, are people not paying attention? I see people walking across the bridge on a regular basis. I have seen families with little kids walking across it. I know because each time I think to myself 'these people are crazy'.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

As noted in this article,, as of 2010, 3.1% of Ann Arbor commuters bike to work.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

I drive over the AA Saline Rd./I-94 bridge almost daily and I very frequently see people walking across the bridge. They go back and forth from the apartment complexes on the north side to the Meijer's, Target, and other stores on the south. Some sort of side walk that connects the bridge and the sidewalks near Oak Valley Dr/Lohr Rd. is necessary IMO.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

I have seen on numerous occasions pedestrians walking along Ann Arbor-Saline Road and on the overpass -- there were some out there Monday afternoon when we went to shoot the video. This is purely a conjecture on my behalf, but I'd imagine people that are walking along that roadway aren't just doing it for exercise. It may be a necessity to get where they need to go.

Seasoned Cit

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

This is just another example of how the City is doing all it can to make international students, especially those from third world countries feel at home. It keeps the tire companies busy as well.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

That's not Ann Arbor...looks like the latest NASA moon mission...Boo!!!


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Shameful stretch of road. South State and AA-Saline roads are the 1st impressions visitors get of our great city. I assume they arrive downtown with a mixture of trepidation and relief. This road has been rotting for too long. I assumed this shambles was being coordinated by the committees of MDOT, The City, and the road commission. Thanks for confirming this Each chair and committee member should share the embarrassment of this.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

This is an easy fix, anyone with a season ticket to UM football or basketball, pays a toll of $1. Booths will be set up on State and AA/Saline ramps. We'll tackle the road as mentioned in the article first, then the entry/exist ramps to 94. If they had done this w/the Stadium bridge, it wouldn't have been 2 years in the fixin'! I believe there are already people stationed at these exits anyhow, we can just change the wording on their signs, being collecting now while basketball is hot.

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

But you would have to admit the result would be gainful employment for the sign holders.

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Although ingenious Skip, I'd guess it would only raise about $50,000 per game (assuming the booths would only capture a portion of the total traffic) totaling $350k ish per season, just a drop in the bucket of actual construction costs while creating a horrific traffic situation on the freeways.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

I have been petitioning the Road Commission to do something about that stretch of road for three years, and nothing has been done. They are unable to ascertain even when it was last resurfaced, and it has been on the schedule for 2014 - MAYBE - for the last five years. I think it's ridiculous that the most traveled entrance to the city is in the worst condition and no one has done anything about it for decades.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

No kidding - the fact that most people use this stretch on football Saturdays should have some bearing. What a first impression these potholes make.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

The concrete section of the bridge is in pretty good condition (from the video and from personal experience). From the article, it seems that the bridge portion is owned by the state. That section needs little if any repairs. The parts in disrepair are on either side of the concrete overpass and are owned by AA and the road commission who have sufficient money to repair their sections. Fix the sections that need and have needed repair for 5+ years.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Raise the gas tax. Fix the roads. That stretch is abysmal, especially for a main artery.

Frank Lee

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Not so fast! The Treasury Department openly admits that it has been over 6 years since road funds have even been audited. We have some of the worst roads in the nation and they don't even bother to audit the funds used to maintain them in over 6 years….Unbelievable! It's easier to ask the people to pay more at the pump and Secretary of State than to question government spending. REF:

Ricardo Queso

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

Time to make Michigan load restrictions in line with the rest of the country. A handful of gravel train companies are probably responsible for the deterioration of this bridge. These trucks should be restricted to Wagner then to Zeeb road.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2 p.m.

I suggest secure the funding to make the roadway concrete and also make sure any structural work that would support any kind of mass transit is considered (e.g. don't build it - but make sure any structure is designed with addition in mind). Concrete will last much longer and will provide for a smoother ride, and also support the gravel hauling trucks better that use that overpass. The south side of Ann Arbor is missing some key overpasses to I94. Those are the congestion points for the city.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

The traffic circle at Elsworth & State should be abandoned permanently. The funds should be transferred to the Ann Arbor Saline Road overpass as it is already severely damaged. As has been pointed out in other comments the Elsworth & State intersection has recently been maintained and is in very good shape. Worse still the proposed traffic circle has all the elments of an absolute disaster along with grid lock. Why dosesn't the WCRC use common sense?


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Good point and I firmly believe that the monies can be transferred. AA-Saline over I-94 needs repair and not some dumb roundabout at State and Ellsworth.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

The roundabout at State and Ellsworth has a dedicated stream of federal dollars intended for a specific purpose and that specific project: Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration and Surface Transportation Program-Urban funds. The road commission can't transfer those funds over to the other project. As the state owns the overpass, they're responsible for funding that work. The county and city, working in tandem, have received state grant money for Ann Arbor-Saline road work.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

What? I agree A2-Saline should take precedence but if you think a traffic circle causes gridlock, you are not very well-informed.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

The condition of the intersection at State and Ellsworth is very good. While the Ann Arbor-Saline I-94 overpass is in need of much repairs. I realize that MDOT is holding up the work on the overpass. Is MDOT involved with the roundabout too?

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Gorc, good question. As I understand it, MDOT is not contributing funding to the roundabout project. It's being done with federal grant money that the county secured.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

At least strip the asphalt off that road. Most dirt roads are in better shape.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Let's see....and article declaring SURPLUS of millions of dollars in the city general fund... Then an article stating that there isn't enough money to fix the roadway.... Yes yes...I realize the first article is about city coffers and this article is about MDOT not having the money... But how else do you expect this to look....


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

I expect it to look like it is... Lots of little pots of money dedicated to specific things. Some pots belong to the state; some to the city; some to the county. You can't take money from one pot and put it into another. What kind of crazy tomfoolery would there be if someone could just decide to do that? This year it is for this bridge; next year for something else. How can there be control over government funds if they can switch pots willy-nilly? Work on getting the money into the needed pots in the first place. It is darn near impossible to switch pots later - and that is as it should be. That's why you have budgets.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Are you suggesting that Ann Arbor Annex the roadway south of the bridge, and then grant the MDOT the funding that they are missing to cover the overpass? I'd vote for that - but I have a feeling I'd be fairly lonely in that vote.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

time to plate the humvee.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I really can't believe I just watched that entire video.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Making the video with the GoPro camera was probably the most exciting part of this story. Melanie attached the little camera with a massive suction cup to her car's front bumper and we drove the overpass with our fingers crossed that it wouldn't fall off.

music to my ear

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

so tell me was it boring ?did it make you dizzy? are you like not wanting to travel that road? what should I avoid when watching it ? I am not going to watch it .


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Well this smells of politics...paybacks for not re-electing someone of a certain party?

Tom Todd

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Fix the Road Rick!!


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Got to love living in Michigan - the only way to cross the AA Saline Rd over 94 is to be in the middle median -by 2014 the bridge will collapse and then they will not have to pave it as it will be gone - slated to be replaced in 2024


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

That stretch of road has proven to be a wonderful welcome from the City of Ann Arbor to the many thousands of out of town football fans for many years now. Obviously, no one has cared about the message it has sent. Hard to understand why fixing it has taken so long considering how long it has been in this condition. Shame on all of them.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

f-ball fans get what they deserve... stay away & quit clogging our streets


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Isn't the irony that they have the money for a roundabout but not for rebuilding a road that serves thousands of cars per day? The roundabout is replacing an intersection that was rebuilt before Costco opened and is in perfect repair. Ann Arbor-Saline road is pathetic and needs repair now. Even the idea of a bike lane can & should wait for funding. Make fixing the road for cars & commercial traffic the priority here.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Ruminator and sellers, the roundabout at State and Ellsworth is a $2.3 million project funded by federal dollars, using a mix of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration and Surface Transportation Program-Urban funds. Costco contributed $500K that's already been put to use in the design phase.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Roundabout is not funded by the state, but the WCRC and Costco if I recall.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Really that road is horrible. Another article has a 1.6 million surplus in Ann Arbor. How about Ann Arbor fork over the 200k to fix the road. I am sure the county can pay it back the next year.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

"To further the City of Ann Arbor's non-motorized plan and initiative, we will replace the Ann Arbor -Saline Road bridge with a one-lane wooden structure, just like the one that preceded the Huron Parkway bridge. . . There will be plenty of room for bicycles. . ."


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

And the purpose of the quotes - attributed to no one - is... ?


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

Can't the two townships find the funds to cover the state's portion until they are paid back in 2014?

Basic Bob

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Don't put bike lanes on this bridge! Put in a separate bicycle bridge behind Briarwood Mall to connect from S. Main to the Lohr Rd. asphalt path.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I don't know what time of day you are looking at the bicycle bridge over US23 but I have seen people using it many times, and I don't even drive by it on a regular basis. I would guess about 40% of the time I drive by I see someone using or approaching it in warm weather. Winter - not so much.

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

The sidewalk idea, however, would be a good addition. I see people walking across the overpass on a daily basis.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Got to disagree, that bike bridge over US 23 was not worth it. I commute through there on a daily basis and have yet to see a bike on it. If you are going to spend that much money on the footings and pillars might as well make it vehicle friendly to.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 11:05 a.m.

That stretch of road is terrible! Find the funds. All the other waste government does could pay for this! The other road in a mess is Carpenter between Packard and Washtenaw!

Amy Biolchini

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Caprtenter Road between Packard and Washtenaw is in Pittsfield Township, and is on the road commission's agenda to be repaved in 2014.


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

First we have to perform our pet project of fixing the non-problem of 4 lanes on Jackson/Huron + adding a bike and turn lane.