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More orange cones coming to Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield Township with Triangle Project

$14 million construction job slated for 14 Mile Road, Orchard Lake Road and Northwestern Highway

Triangle Project Orchard Lake, 14 Mile, Northwestern Highway

There’s a substantial construction project slated for Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield, right by our Michigan Auto Law headquarters in Farmington Hills at the corner of Inkster and Northwestern Highway. Unfortunately, we’re all about to feel  the inconvenience of more construction traffic.

Insert whatever lawyer joke comes to mind about people wanting to come and visit with an attorney here, but the 14 Mile/Orchard Lake/Northwestern Highway “triangle project” broke ground last month and is slated to last for two years. So it’s going to be awhile before things clear up around here. The hope is that this traffic re-design will reduce the number of car accidents in an area that has topped the lists for most motor vehicle accidents in Oakland County every year.

The project includes a roundabout a roundabout at the 14 Mile/Orchard Lake intersection and the realignment of 14 Mile Road east of Northwestern Highway. Also included will be the reconstruction of Northwestern Highway, 14 Mile and Orchard Lake in the vicinity of the triangle, according to the City of Farmington Hills.

Officials say the revamp will help the traffic congestion in the area and make it safer.

And as far as safe, the intersections within the triangle project are currently hotspots for car accidents:

Of SEMCOG’s (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) list of the worst intersections in Oakland County, 14 and Orchard Lake is No. 4 with 33 car accidents in 2013. And 14 and Northwestern Highway is No. 12 on the list, with 19 car accidents.

The  volume of traffic is what’s causing most of the car accidents and need for road improvements. The planned roundabout at 14 and Orchard Lake is part of the solution for the city of Farmington Hills.

Statistics show that roundabouts do reduce car accidents (even though most people mistakenly think they actually cause more crashes). But at first implementation, the volume of accidents and fender-benders can increase as drivers get used to the new roundabout. As Craig Bryson, spokesperson for the Road Commission for Oakland County said, injury accidents may decrease in roundabout traffic circles, but side-swipe accidents increase. I discussed these findings in my blog post, “3 of Oakland County’s worst intersections are roundabouts.”

The detour route for this year’s 14 Mile Road work will be Middlebelt Road to Northwestern Highway and back to 14 Mile and vice versa.

As for the timeline, the realignment of 14 Mile Road east of Northwestern Highway will be completed this year, with the rest of the work to take place in 2015. During this year’s work, 14 Mile Road will be completely closed just east of Northwestern Highway. The realigned 14 Mile will curve south and intersect Northwestern Highway south of the current intersection.

About 114,000 vehicles pass through the triangle each day.

Funding for this project came from several federal grants, as well as local communities contributing $3 million and the Michigan Department of Transportation paying $1.5 million.

– Photo courtesy of the Road Commission for Oakland County

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