Aug. 5, 2017 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
The recent announcement that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be moving forward with the installation of a four-way traffic signal and widening of the McClumpha and Ann Arbor Road intersection was the sound of success for Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise.
Heise, a former state representative, worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for more than two years to facilitate the installation of the traffic signal and reconfiguration of the intersection. Last week, State Reps. Jeff Noble of Plymouth and Laura Cox of Livonia announced that $1 million in funding has been designated to reconfigure the intersection. According to the announcement, there have been 36 total accidents at the intersection between 2012 and 2016.
Twenty-three of these accidents were T-bone or head-on collisions, according to the release and some caused serious injuries. The intersection prompted numerous complaints from area residents, claiming that the situation was a threat to public safety. The T-shaped intersection has no turn lanes, creating safety concerns.
“As citizen complaints sky-rocketed through the roof,” Heise said, “I kept the pressure on. However, this is a team effort, and its more complex that just a traffic light issue.” The issue is exacerbated during hours when traffic is traveling to or from the three high schools at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park nearby where more than 6,000 students attend classes.
Heise said he pushed his colleagues in the State House for approval of a traffic study in the area. He added that he was concerned about what many perceived as a serious danger in the neighborhood, which is also his neighborhood. He said records show speeding over the 45 mph limit is often commonplace.
In November 2015, his efforts paid off and MDOT commissioned the Wayne County Road Commission to conduct a study of the traffic at the intersection. In early 2016 the project received a final go-ahead. Having the engineering data from the joint Wayne Country-MDOT sponsored study, Heise was told to be patient and that the estimated $300,000 funds would not be available until 2020.
After his successful bid to become township supervisor, Heise continued his quest for the road project.
In February 2017, at his urging, members of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees approved a resolution urging the state to expedite the improvements to the intersection.
Heise said he is gratified that the project is moving forward and that the state will pay for the entire $1 million estimated cost of the traffic signal and reconfiguration of the intersection.
He said he sent copies of the township resolution to State Rep. Jeff Noble, MDOT Director Kirk Steudle, Sen. Patrick Colbeck, Rep. Kristy Pagen and to Cox, the current Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, reminding them of how serious a public safety threat the intersection is and the efforts at the township level to solve the problem.
Plymouth Township Police Chief Tom Tiderington agreed that the intersection was a known danger.
“It’s been a dangerous intersection for a long time and a lot of drivers, especially those who are inexperienced like high school students, had difficulty maneuvering through the intersection,” Tiderington said.
“This is a team effort. MDOT will have to rework the intersection. It will require left-turn lanes, deceleration lanes, new curbs and widening. It’s a serious issue,” Heise said.
“This is great news.”