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Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Dexter Avenue closed through November as Ann Arbor completes $4.6M street reconstruction

By Ryan J. Stanton

One of the worst stretches of road in all of Ann Arbor — Dexter Avenue is about to get a much-needed facelift as part of a $4.6 million project starting this week.

From now through November, a temporary traffic control plan is in place along the crumbling section of Dexter between Maple Road and Huron Street.

Dexter Avenue is being restricted to local traffic only during the construction. Thru traffic is being detoured via Maple and Jackson Avenue.


A look at the crumbling section of Dexter Avenue west of downtown Ann Arbor over the weekend. Detours are in place as of today for a full reconstruction of the road.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"The road is one of our worst streets in the city," said Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city's project management unit. "It's due for a complete reconstruction, and that's what's happening to it right now, so it will take a long time."

Pirooz said it's about a $4.6 million project. City officials were expecting it to be about a $6 million project but the bids came in lower than projected.

The city is getting $2.35 million in federal funding for the project. The rest will come from the city's street millage and utility funds.

In addition to full reconstruction of Dexter Avenue, the improvements include underground utility upsizing and replacement.

Pirooz said stormwater sewer pipes will be replaced in some sections, and 6-inch-diameter water mains will be replaced with new 12-inch-diameter mains throughout the length of the project to allow for more carrying capacity in the system.

"The water main is a large portion of it," Pirooz said. "And with the rebuild of the road from scratch, we'll add bike lanes to the road, which it currently doesn't have. And we'll complete the missing sidewalks where we have a few places where there's a sidewalk gap."

At the west end of Dexter Avenue, there also are gaps with no concrete curb and gutter. City officials say there are issues with stormwater ponding there, which accelerates the deterioration of the surrounding roadway and creates icing areas in the winter.


Homayoon Pirooz

The project will address those issues with the installation of new concrete curb and gutter consistent with the rest of the corridor.

With input from the neighbors, the city also pursued various locations to improve pedestrian street crossing along Dexter Avenue. Three marked crosswalks will be added near the Veterans Park Parking Lot, near Doty, and near Grandview.

Those locations were selected based on expected usage and with respect to other site details, including sight distances and preservation of nearby trees.

All sidewalk ramps along the corridor will be replaced to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act.

The construction will be phased into three sections, with a third of Dexter Avenue under construction at any given time.

Within each section under construction, traffic will be limited to one-way westbound, with only Dexter Avenue residents and emergency traffic permitted.

For the two sections without construction, two-way local traffic will be permitted. Pedestrian traffic will be maintained during the project.

The curb-to-curb width of Dexter Avenue, a two-lane road, will remain the same when the project is done, but there will be vertical changes in some areas — "smoothing out the hills" — to improve sight distances for both drivers and pedestrians seeking to cross the road.

City officials ask motorists to reduce speeds and drive cautiously through work zones. For more information, go to the project webpage at


The project spans Dexter Avenue between Maple Road and Huron Street.

Google Maps

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



Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:14 a.m.

This is long over due. Glad to see it happening. When will Ann Arbor Saline Rd. between Eisenhower and Lohr Rd be resurfaced? Or how about State St near Hoover? I am sure there are a few other areas as bad, but probably not with as much traffic volume.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

As I fled the tornado in Dexter on the 15th, driving into Ann Arbor on "crumbling" Dexter Ave. - I was thinking, "rural African village?? Honestly, with Ann Arbor holding so many prominent places on so many national polls, I've long wondered how visitors feel once they've seen and "experienced" our city streets. Well, now that reconstruction has begun on Dexter Ave. -- we can hope the City of Ann Arbor will get more for its road money than it's been getting for its art money. lol!


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

Ann Arbor roads suck, that's for sure. It's part of the 'charm'.

Audrey Schwimmer

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Get it done!

Dave Warner

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

This is the busiest "closed' street I've ever lived on. Have obly had to tell two people that they were going the wrong way.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

As long as it doesn't impede getting to Knight's it is a good thing.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

I am guessing that the Low Bid contract means the job will take more time to complete than if we were to choose the next higher bid. Or perhaps a bonus if completed early would be a good addition. Why is the city provideing sidewalks where none existed for some and not for the rest of the city Mr Pirooz ?


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

They are following normal practice and are assessing adjacent property owners for part of the costs. There were some article about the city approving the special assessment a couple of weeks ago.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Does this seem like a rather long construction period?

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

For those who have asked, Miller Avenue is scheduled for underground utilities replacement and street reconstruction in 2013. Project limits will be from Newport Road to North Maple Road. That project, too, is expected to benefit from federal grant funding.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

Its a welcome sight..the front end of my vehicle thanks you

Jeff Renner

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

For several weeks, crews have been laying some kind of yellow pipe, about 4-5" in diameter and in sections of perhaps 30', along Dexter Ave. They look to be slightly flexible. Any idea what these are? Perhaps fiber optic cable? I agree about this being long overdue and very welcome. I drive this every day worry about my car's suspension and steering components.

Steve Burling

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

Jeff, I think that's natural gas lines.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

When will Miller get it? It is terrible too, and now it will see some of the Dexter Rd. traffic.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

i hope not


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Is the roundabout still planned at Miller and Newport?

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

Miller Avenue is scheduled for underground utilities replacement and street reconstruction in 2013 from Newport Road to North Maple Road.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

YEAH!!! It's about time! No more blowouts on the Hoveround. ;)


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Good news - long overdue Bad news - this is going to make Jackson/west Huron look even more pathetic


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

The rumor of why they don't do Jackson/West Huron, is that it is the alternate highway route/not just a city road and the state will not agree to turn it into 1 lane each way with 1 center turn lane. The state insists on it being 2 lanes each way. Not sure if the rumor is true, but it makes sense


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

"The curb-to-curb width of Dexter Avenue, a two-lane road, will remain the same when the project is done." and "we'll add bike lanes to the road, which it currently doesn't have." Just hope there is enough space . . .


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Those ones on 7th are fantastic ...if there's a biker just go ahead and cross over the double yellow biggie


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

I like the ones that are painted in the middle of the lanes on South Seventh


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Their idea of "bike lanes" is painting a bike on the pavement and hoping motorists actually pay attention.

Dayne White Bull The Terrible.

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

I honestly thought that the city was ignoring it. Thankfully it's gonna be all nice and paved now! November


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Great, now when are Jackson/Huron and Main streets going to get repaired? They see considerably more traffic than this stretch of Dexter.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

I believe Jackson / Huron between Maple and 1st will be repaired next year. That's an MDOT project, not a city project.

Dog Guy

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

In what year was this section of Dexter St. last re-paved?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Wait, you mean that road is paved??


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Probably some time before the Civil War.