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Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

$2.9M upgrade coming next year for Packard Road in Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton

Packard Road will see repaving and pedestrian improvements next year as part of $2.9 million in upgrades, Ann Arbor officials said this week.

The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation Monday night for the resurfacing of Packard from Platt to US-23. The breakdown provided to MDOT shows about $1.19 million is expected to come from federal funds, $1.33 million from the city's street millage and $845,000 from the city's water fund.


Packard Road will be resurfaced, curbs will be replaced where needed, and sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Courtesy of Tom Durant

Packard is scheduled for construction from May through August 2012. City officials said the work will be phased so half the road will be under construction while the remainder will be used to maintain two lanes of two-way traffic throughout the construction zone.

The street will be resurfaced, curbs will be replaced where needed, and sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city's project management unit.

Due to many breaks, the project also includes the replacement of the existing underground water main with a new 12-inch main from Platt to US-23, Pirooz said. Also included is the replacement of the guardrails and north pedestrian walkway underneath the US-23 bridge.

Residents and business owners in the area have said the bike path and pedestrian walkway have been dangerous and in need of repairs for some time.

Funds for the work on Packard, as well as upgrades to Hill Street, are approved in the city's fiscal year 2011-12 budget. City officials said the completed plans were submitted to MDOT in July for a bid letting on Oct. 7.

MDOT is awarding the contract, and the city is acting as the project engineer. The agreement with the state was required so the project can be performed as a federal aid project.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 7:17 a.m.

Those unfamiliar with highway funding might want to know about: 1. Republican caused massive (3 years & counting) recession causing loss of funding for infrastructure. 2. Republican success in "lowering taxes" so that there's less in state and federal treasuries for this "luxury." 3. Cost of Stadium Bridge replacement: over $20 million, cost of Packard Rd. restoration (renewed after a several year pause): $2.9 million. Truth: the condition of Ann Arbor's streets grows worse by the month. So much for "attracting businesses" and holding on to our "prime destination" significance. Question: WHERE ARE the private corporations which will replace government (i.e., public) built roads and bridges. And WHAT will they be charging when & if they do show up? The "fiscal geniuses" in the Republican Part PLANNED this scenario years ago. They fully intend to keep it up: to "wean us" of the desire for government programs at all levels and areas. So - BE WEANED, go ahead and vote for Republicans in the next election. Just don't tell the rest of us what you've DONE TO US.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

What does Platt to 23 mean? Is that some part between Platt and Carpenter Roads? It's much worse from Platt to Eisenhower.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

Could we PLEASE make this section of road available only to SUV's? I'm tired of these people in their little Ford Fiestas and their Toyota Corollas using the road. GET ON THE SIDEWALK! Why do you think they built it in the first place? We have enough congestion with the SUV's already, please don't cave to the "vocal minority" of small car owners and allow them to use a newly paved road.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

This project is completely and totally absurd! They plan to spend $2.9M to fix 0.8 miles of road??? (Since most here are obviously math-challenged, that comes to ~$700 per foot!) Can you say "waste", "bloat", "unions", and all other forms of nonsense which prevent our society from accomplishing things in a reasonable manner?

Ashok Gopalakrishnan

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

This is good news and I am sure that the repairs are needed. But note that only $1.33 million is being spent from the street millage fund, which reportedly (according to an expense summary sheet supplied by Councilwoman Briere) has a balance of $29 million in it. While in principle I support a special street millage, I would like to see the previously collected money spent in a meaningful manner, over the next several years before the city asks us for more. You all know where I am going with this: vote &quot;NO&quot; on both proposals 1 (street millage) and 2 (sidewalk millage) in the election that is coming up. As to the Stadium bridges, USDOT is supposed to have obligated the $13.1 million in TIGER funds to the city. Construction is slated to beginning November. A ground-breaking ceremony was supposed to be held by mid-October. The award to the contractor was also supposed to be made by now. Have these things happened yet? There have been no updates to the Ann Arbor bridges website <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> since September 23, 2011.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5 p.m.

Miller Rd and Dexter Ave need much work ASAP!


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

And golly gee, Dexter is slated for improvement in 2012 and Miller in 2013.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

Great! But, please, do not reduce the lanes of traffic as Ann Arbor has in the past to busy throughways. Keep the bike path on the sidewalk and not in the road. This stretch of road is just to busy and should allow for the flow of car traffic without the worries of bicycles clogging the roadway. The wide sidewalks accommodate the sparse bicycle traffic as is. Gee, hope I didn't give the city any ideas.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not do to this part of Packard Rd what was done at the other end, taking it down from 2 lanes each direction to 2 lanes with a middle lane....we do not need this - anyone needing to make a left turn takes less time than when the traffic gets really long because of the reduced lanes....and the bicycle traffic is not so much that we need all this done for that....


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

One can only hope. If this occurs I might have to....oh never mind.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

I am afraid your plea will not be heard.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

It's funny because I don't see this road as being all that bad... Geddes from Washtenaw to Huron Parkway is treacherous and E Huron River Drive has chunks of road that fall into the river. Bottom line is that Michigan roads suck.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:03 p.m.

&quot;Bottom line is that Michigan roads suck.&quot; I used to subscribe to that idea. Then I moved to Atlanta. There are some roads here that rival Carpenter and Ann Arbor-Saline. And they can't use winter weather as an excuse...


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

But what about Carpenter between Washtenaw and Packard?! HUH?!! Ever going to fix that?! That is going to be one hell of a place to get through. Traffic is already bad, but closing it down to two lanes will be a nightmare! I feel bad for all the people living around there. I didn't think Packard was that bad to warrant the construction.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

<a href=""></a> Read the third graph, it states they'll be repaving that stretch in 2012 as well.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

As noted in the article, the construction is motivated by both the street condition and the water pipe underneath. Carpenter is not part of AA. That's Pittsfield Township's responsibility (I assume ... I guess it could be a county road.)


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

I see from few comments that this does not include the area from Stone School to Platt. Say what??? That's the crappy part of the road. :(


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

As the article states, the motivation is at least in part due to the condition of the water pipe. Presumably there have been less breaks in the other part of the road.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Couple of notes about comments. First, this repair will be no where close to Stone School--Packard to US 23 does not include Stone School. Second, there is no need to reduce the lanes to two the way it was done on Stadium. There was no turn lane on that section of Stadium before the repair and now there is a turn lane with the reduction from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. At busy times the inside lanes west bound were often slowed down or stopped by left-turners. Since there is already a turn lane on Packard from Stone School on to the East there is no reason to reduce the lanes.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Sounds good, just hoping they don't incorporate the same flawed two lane system they did near and on Stadium. Saw yet another mad jostle for lanes at Stadium and Seventh yesterday, which resulted in one car hitting the curb while the other driver displayed their IQ number on one hand (it was a very low number).


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

Rest assured the lane reduction design will be implemented. Have to make way for the 2 or 3 bike riders per day that will use it. Do a count on Stadium and I would be shocked if there are more than 5 bikes a day on that stretch of road.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

At some point we need to start attributing the stupidity to the individual drivers rather than to the design of the roadway. Merging amicably really isn't that difficult.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Yeah, God forbid that streets be redesigned so as to force people to drive slower so that the roadways are safe for us all. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Truly one of the of the stupidest pieces of road design in this area.

Bob Bethune

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

The replies to this article suggest the outlines of a very useful software application. The app would scan the site for articles about public works projects, and would have a database of possible public works projects to draw from. Whenever an article about any of the possible projects appears, the app would generate a series of replies of the form, &quot;All well and good for but what about ?&quot; until all possible replies had been generated. Since all such replies would be equally valid, and since all such replies are inevitable anyway, the savings of time and effort, combined with the automated speed of generation, would make the app a valuable public service. I'm sure the Ann Arbor software community could have such a thing up and rolling in jig-time.

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

And don't forget it's all Rick Snyder's fault that he won't let Matty Maroun fix the roads for us.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

And some vague, aimless lament about how Ann Arbor is &quot;hostile to small businesses&quot;.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

Don't forget the reference to public art.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

hooray! That's another $40k for public art!!!

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

@Rob, insurance settlements come out of another fund.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Public art? Roads? Broken water mains feeding large portions of that area of the city? Crumbling pedestrian sidewalks that are so bad that there have been several reported injuries of disabled individuals tipped over in their wheelchairs due to the grade and disrepair if the walkway-a lawsuit waiting to happen?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

What about the approaches to the A2-Saline Road Bridge over I-94? There is no worse section of major road anywhere in the county. Guess we're just going to let it degenerate to gravel? Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

I vote for Michigan Avenue in Pittsfield Township. The pavement's OK, there surely needs to be more of it.

longtime AA

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

Personally, I would vote for Carpenter between Washtenaw and Packard as the worst--the original asphalt has been replaced by dozens of patches. Maybe the next weekly poll shouldn't be a &quot;best of ...&quot; category, but a &quot;Worst Road&quot; category. I would bet there would be more votes than in the &quot;Best of&quot; voting.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

I think the problem is a dispute over who owns that part of the road. That said, I saw it listed in the county's list of projects if they add a road millage.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Another project paid for partly by &quot;Federal Funds&quot;... Why on earth would the federal gov't pay for Packard Road in Ann Arbor? No wonder they (we) are 14.8 trillion in debt!


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

foobar417, you have a point. Ann Arbor might as well take the money because to refuse it on principal is stupid. The problem is that local governments across the country treat federal funds like &quot;free money&quot; and take and spend as much as they can get. The solution is that local projects like city streets should be funded by local tax dollars, then they money would be spent with greater thought to what's really needed and with greater cost control. Federal funds should be spent for federal projects, which, incidentally, includes the interstate highway system.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

@daytona084-gee, I wonder how you got to work today. Or, lets say, traveled to the local grocery store. Hey, what about taking the highway to Grandma's house. Yup. Your tax dollars at work. Funny, the same people who complain about the national debt are the first to use every aspect of government each day without even realizing it.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

The federal government pays for part of many road projects. One could argue it's a bad system (queue leaky bucket argument), but it is the current system. Opting out of the system on &quot;principal&quot; is stupid. It just means more money for those who don't. Changing the system by an act of Congress is reasonable, but unlikely to succeed. Oh, probably a good time to point out that the reddest states are the ones who do best about bringing more money in then they pay in to the system.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

I agree. Federal funds should only be used for projects outside of the United States.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

For the same reason they contribute to roads, bridges, and other transportation projects across the country, I would imagine.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Water Fund? What is the rationale for using water fund money for street repair. Our water rates are in many respects a disguised tax. It seems that a lot of the oney from the water fund is used to fund other projects!

Bob Bethune

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

&quot;Due to many breaks, the project also includes the replacement of the existing underground water main with a new 12-inch main from Platt to US-23....&quot; I suppose replacing a water main might be a water project. Of course, I could be wrong about that. But somehow I don't think so.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

(would rather fix street cheap &amp; then tear up again for water, obviously)


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

This article does not mention it, but this project looks juicy for lane reductions. Mr. Pirooz and Ann Arbors &quot;management unit&quot; loves to reduce our 4 lane roads down to 2 lane roads.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Lets hope not. This section of road has a lot of traffic. The wide sidewalks are enough space for bikes without them clogging up the roadway or reducing lanes of traffic. It just bothers me to no end that the city accommodates the few bicycles with their own lanes while reducing traffic lanes for a far more number of cars.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Pure speculation, but keep in mind, not a bad thing, and great for cyclists. More cyclists on your route = fewer cars.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

Nothing like made up facts to get the blood boiling.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Happy to hear at least one poor street is being repaired. IMO Geddes between Hill and Gallup Park is in far worse condition than the section of Packard to be redone. But, guess we should be happy they are repairing at least one road.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Yea, A shovel ready job!

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Of course it's shovel ready, the pavement has already disintegrated. And after this project is done, the water department can rip it all up to put in a new main.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Awesome. That section of road especially near Stone School and Platt is stinko and has been unsafe for years.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

According to the article, the improvement is from Platt to US23. It does not appear anything will be done near Stone School.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

I'd like to know when MDOT or whoever is going to fix that horrendous overpass at 94 and Ann Arbor/Saline slash Main street deal. What a P.O.S. that is.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

I have a couple curiosity questions... does the city limit sign actually sit on the city limits? If so it would seem some of the project is in another jurisdiction (Pittsfield Township?) How does it work when this or any project crosses political boundaries?


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

I believe the city to township divider in that location is the center of US-23. (large download: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

Packard Road goes under US23 just west of Carpenter Road (near the TJMaxx center).


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

i sure hope they put in the hawk for crosswalks. not the dumb island. i hope they keep the same size of the bike paths not like stadium blvd. stadium blvd layout is a mess.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:30 a.m.

All well and good for Packard Rd. but what about the Stadium Bridge ???????

Bob Dively

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

You can find all you'd ever want to know about the Stadium bridge project, including project timelines, at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Jeff Gaynor

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

You can follow &quot;Stadium Bridges&quot; on Facebook and get updates. And for all the people complaining that the Stadium Bridge needs fixing, no complaining, once the work begins, about it inconveniencing you.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:59 a.m.

Construction begins in late November

Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:21 a.m.

Please help me to understand just where at what point does Packard connect with or cross U.S.-23. I've been traveling on Packard all my life, have I just not noticed?


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

US-23 goes over Packard, or rather Packard goes under US-23. Just look up while you are driving on Packard...when you are not on the cell phone...or eating lunch...or grooming yourself...


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.

Packard doesn't connect us US-23. It goes under US-23 right near the White Castle.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

Packard runs under US-23 near CVS at Carpenter/Packard.


Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

US 23 goes over Packard, just west of Carpenter Rd.