It’s been in the planning stages for years, but Oakland County’s plan to improve safety and traffic flow at the uber congested 14 Mile/Orchard Lake Road/Northwestern Highway triangle is officially under way.
On Tuesday the Road Commission for Oakland County began work on a two year project that will see the construction of the state’s biggest roundabout at the 14 Mile/Orchard Lake Road intersection, the realignment of 14 Mile east of Northwestern Highway and the reconstruction of the Northwestern/14 Mile/Orchard Lake area.
The RCOC realizes that it’s going to be a pain in the asphalt.
“We recognize that this work will cause inconvenience for area motorists,” said RCOC Vice Chairman Ron Fowkes. “We ask for their patience while the work is under way — it will be worth it when it’s done. This is short-term pain for long-term gain.”
According to the RCOC the realignment of 14 Mile east of Northwestern will be completed this year with the rest of the work to take place in 2015.
During this year’s work 14 Mile will be completely closed just east of Northwestern. Once it’s realigned, 14 Mile will curve south and intersect Northwestern south of the current intersection.
The detour route for the 14 Mile closure will be Middle Belt to Northwestern and back to 14 Mile and vice versa.
■ The 14 Mile/Orchard Lake Road intersection will become a roundabout.
■ 14 Mile will be realigned east of Northwestern.
■ Northwestern will be rebuilt between 14 Mile and Orchard Lake Road.
■ Orchard Lake will be reconstructed into a four-lane boulevard from 14 Mile to north of the Northwestern intersection.
■ 14 Mile will be reconstructed from Orchard Lake to east of Northwestern.
The cost of the project is $14 million plus an additional $5 to $10 million to acquire property for right of way.