You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Roundabout construction at Geddes and Ridge roads won't be done by first day of school deadline

By Amy Biolchini

Construction of a roundabout at Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township won’t be finished in time to open the intersection back up to drivers for the first day of school, officials announced Thursday.

The $1.1 million project was supposed to be completed by Aug. 30 in order to accommodate the additional traffic to the South Pointe Scholars Charter Academy at 10550 Geddes Road once classes resume.


Construction signs Tuesday, June 25 at Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township.

Daniel Brenner I

The Geddes and Ridge road intersection has been closed to all traffic since June as crews convert the former four-way stop to a single-lane roundabout.

Because the completion date was set in the signed contract between the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the company doing the work, the company will now be penalized for every additional day the project is not complete, said Matt MacDonell, senior project manager for the Road Commission.

Per the liquidated damages clause, the company will be paid $1,300 less of its contract award amount for each calendar day past deadline that the work is not done, MacDonell said.

Fonson, Inc. of Brighton is the prime contractor and GM & Sons, Inc. of Whitmore Lake is the subcontractor doing the concrete paving.

“We don’t assess liquidated damages often,” MacDonell said.

Since the charter school is paying for the roundabout construction, the missed deadline means the school will be paying less money for the project.

The roundabout project was initiated by South Pointe Scholars Charter Academy as a condition the school agreed to in order to gain permits to construct the two driveways to access the school from Geddes and Ridge roads.


A graphic of the roundabout that's under construction at Geddes and Ridge roads in Superior Township.

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Road Commission

The charter school is a part of National Heritage Academies and receives its funding from the state of Michigan. The school opened in 2012.

About 70 percent of the concrete has been poured on the roundabout. MacDonell said he expects 100 percent of the concrete pouring to be finished by Friday.

The concrete then needs about seven days to cure and gain strength before being opened to vehicle traffic, MacDonell said.

The joints between sections of concrete need to be sealed, surrounding landscaping needs to be completed, signs need to be installed and pavement striping needs to be painted, MacDonell said.

Weather permitting, MacDonell said the project will be completed by the first week after Labor Day weekend.

In the worst-case scenario, the project will keep the intersection closed until mid-September, MacDonell said.

As a result of the intersection closure, the school can only be accessed from Geddes Road east of Ridge Road.

Drivers exiting the school must exit to eastbound Geddes Road or to southbound Ridge Road.

For all other drivers, the posted detour route remains in effect from Prospect Road, Holmes Road, Michigan Avenue and Denton Road.

During the construction project, the intersection has become notorious for drivers and bicyclists ignoring the “road closed” signs. Police issued 23 tickets over a period of several days this summer to motorists who violated the signs.

MacDonell said there has been evidence of bicyclists traveling over wet concrete at the intersection, including a full-body print of a bicyclist who fell over in the wet concrete.

View Geddes and Ridge roads in a larger map

Amy Biolchini is the K-12 education reporter for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Good to know - what about the Ford Blvd. Bridge? It's suppose to be done by tomorrow as well.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Too bad about the delay. No one wants one. It causes inflated costs and frustrations to everyone involved. One question: Was the project allowed to start on schedule? This is a common cause for schedule overruns. The contractor involved may not be at fault if delays are due to conditions outside of their control i.e. permitting and design issues that hold up the start date.


Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

I live near this intersection, and I'm not against the roundabout. I love the roundabouts along Geddes - they're nice and simple ones, and they really have improved traffic. (Does anyone remember having to turn left onto Superior from WB Geddes before the roundabout was put in place? It was a nightmare. Also, ask Superior Twp. about the accident rates before and after the roundabout.) I'm just against delays that cause a major detour to last for an additional two weeks.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

Must have one heck of a profit margin if the contractors can afford to pay, what could be, a penalty of up to two weeks. What makes us think the bike rider fell into the wet cement? Maybe this is a new form of tagging. New art for AA. Go figure!


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 3:08 a.m.

Amy, was there a specific reason cited for the delay? It seems as though 2+ months should have been more than enough time to complete this project.

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

Matt MacDonell said the section of concrete the bicyclist fell into had to be re-poured.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:11 a.m.

"... including a full-body print of a bicyclist who fell over in the wet concrete." LOL


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

Many sidewalks in aa bear witness to the dolts who bypass caution tape, barrels, etc to imprint shoe and tire marks on new concrete. Many areas must be removed and replaced do to such stupid behavior... and then there's the initials, etc. The cost is born by the contractor.

Real Life

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1 a.m.

Roundabouts are great, with the exception of the people who are determined to be intimidated. People who have no problem with the crazy "Michigan left" are baffled by simply cruising into a roundabout by going right and getting off where they want to go are mysteries to me.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

I have heard that the police have had to have a mounted effort to keep out the motorists who dare to drive in this area. I would not be surprised if this is the cause.

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

hope those busses follow them there detour signs.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

There are no buses - it's a charter school. That's actually part of the reason that the roundabout is necessary, since ALL students are dropped off/picked up. (There may be a very few who walk, but *very* few, based on the area - the school isn't in a neighborhood.)


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

this is infuriating... they've got almost every east-west route through the area closed up except for washtenaw, which has degenerated into total gridlock. this company should be pilloried for this, damages of $1300/day is not nearly enough to make up for all the inconvenience, wasted time and wasted gasoline experienced by thousands of area residents who would like to use this route for their commute.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

Forget the contractor ..the people who should be pilloried are the ones who came up with and those who support this nonsense in the first place...


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

I re-read and realize that drivers can exit two ways - onto EB Geddes or SB Ridge. Still, quite a mess.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Yes, I noticed a few days ago that they removed the "8/23" from the construction sign on EB Geddes at Prospect. I figured that didn't bode well. I for one would like to be able to get to my usual shopping areas without a long detour or having to take a long, rutted dirt road (Gottfredson). (I live off of Geddes west of Ridge, within the detour area.) This is going to be an absolute mess for that school next week. I sincerely hope they have a traffic plan in place and are able to communicate it to parents in advance. 800 kids being dropped off or picked up in one-hour time frames, when they can only enter/exit one drive way, in one direction. I hope the construction company is responsible for helping to direct traffic.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

and i should state that the original date of completion printed on all their detour signs was 8/23 before they changed it to now be, indefinite...


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

lol @ the bicyclist who disregarded the signage and fell into the concrete. Hopefully it was a good learning experience for him or her.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 8:28 a.m.

What makes us think that the cement body art was an accident?

Ann English

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

Those tickets were issued in June. Did those selfish, rebellious motorists slow down completion of the project by disregarding the barriers and signs? And the bicyclists? I would think so from the previous article, which said that the willful motorists threatened the safety of the subcontractors.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Come on - sing it with me. "The kids on the bus go round and round ... and round and round and ..."


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

And the sillyness and the $$$$$$ go round and around and around and around......


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

I hate roundabouts cause hardly anyone drives civil on them!

Chester Drawers

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I actually like roundabouts and find them quite efficient for moving traffic. However, I have to agree with Goober about that triple threat mess up in Green Oak Township. It's an awful design filled with angry, impatient drivers who won't cut you a break.

Eduard Copely

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

Huh? Roundabouts are the quickest and safest way to deal with a intersections. I think it's time for you to go back to driver's ed.

Real Life

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

There are too many people who tip-toe around them It beats me how people comfortable with the "Michigan left" are so baffled by a roundabout.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

You can blame a certain MDOT Engineer who loved em. Her name is on a sign heading towards Kensington. RIP she died 5 years ago. I love round abouts. I hate the people who can't drive em.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Especially the circus of roundabouts in Brighton. It is a horrible mess to drive.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

So basically they should have left it a 4-way stop since no one seems to know how to drive through the ones at Geddes and 23....That's a joke at 4:30 in the afternoon....


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

sorry to be picky, but it's "liquidated damages"...

Amy Biolchini

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

Thanks! It's been fixed in the story.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

What about the construction on the roundabout on Ellsworth and State? Is it close to being finished?

Captain Splat

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

A previous article mentioned State/Ellsworth won't be open until the end of September at the earliest


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Don't hold your breath...

Hugh Giariola

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

"MacDonell said there has been evidence of bicyclists traveling over wet concrete at the intersection, including a full-body print of a bicyclist who fell over in the wet concrete." Haha! That is the funniest thing I read all day. I wish could get a photo of that.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

"if the spandex outline does not fit, you must acquit"


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

seconded! LOL.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Is the DDA managing this project? Wait for it, wait for it...