A reconstruction project on U.S. 23 in southern Monroe County next year will include building two roundabouts at the U.S. 223 interchange in Whiteford Township.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting Tuesday evening at the Whiteford Township Hall concerning the $14.1 million project, for which some construction will occur later this year but which will mostly be done during 2013.
Most of the project will involve rebuilding U.S. 23’s northbound lanes between Sterns Road and U.S. 223 and making “ramp improvements” at Sterns, U.S. 223, and Consear Road.
The most dramatic change will be the roundabouts at U.S. 223, which MDOT says will “increase safety and improve traffic flow through the interchange.”
During peak hours, spokesman Kari Arend said, trucks exiting the freeway to go to either of two nearby truck stops cause “significant delays” because of their slow speeds turning onto U.S. 223 after stopping at the interchange ramps’ tops.
“The intersection will be converted from stop control on the ramps to roundabouts with yield entrances,” Ms. Arend said. “Prior studies have shown that replacing a stop-controlled intersection with a roundabout will improve the operations and safety of the intersection, while reducing the severity of crashes.”
At a roundabout, traffic entering the circle is required to yield to traffic already using the circle. But if an entering driver observes no conflicting traffic, he or she typically needs to slow down only to 15 or 20 mph, instead of stopping at a stop sign or waiting at a needlessly red traffic light.
Some drivers, however, consider roundabouts to be confusing, especially as they apply to left turns, which must be made by going around the circle to reached the desired direction of travel.
The MDOT meeting is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. in the township hall at 8000 Yankee Rd.
The roundabouts’ construction is scheduled for 2013, and will involve closing eastbound U.S. 223 through the U.S. 23 interchange during part of the work. Traffic will be detoured south to the Consear interchange, then return north on U.S. 23. Westbound U.S. 223 and St. Anthony Road will remain open throughout the project.
In part to prepare for that detour, the Consear interchange will be upgraded this fall, as will be the Sterns interchange. When one of those roads is closed, traffic will be detoured via U.S. 23 to the other.
Crews also will build crossovers in the U.S. 23 median this fall that will be used next year to cross northbound traffic over to the southbound left lane while the northbound side is rebuilt.
The crossover construction will require shoulder closings and off-peak lane closings. Traffic will be reduced to one lane each way through the work area for most of 2013 during the actual reconstruction.
Along with the ramp work and the northbound lanes’ reconstruction, MDOT plans pavement repairs at the northbound Welcome Center between U.S. 223 and Summerfield Road. Trucks will be banned from the Welcome Center during that work.
No major work is planned on U.S. 23’s southbound lanes. Ms. Arend said the transportation department will award later a separate maintenance contract for area bridges and parts of the freeway not involved in the rebuilding project.
To the west on U.S. 223, in Lenawee County, an MDOT contractor is rebuilding the River Raisin bridge near Palmyra. The work requires alternating single-lane traffic, governed by stoplights that are scheduled to be activated on Tuesday.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.
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