Washtenaw County Road Commission
When members of the road commission show up in the spring for the Saline Township Board Meeting it is often well attended and lively and this week’s meeting was no exception. Local citizens expressed disappointment, frustration and sometimes anger about slow or non-existent road repairs, especially for roads near their homes.
On Thursday night, dozens of Lodi residents came to Lodi Township Hall on Pleasant Lake Road for a Public Information Open House sponsored by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. Several employees of the road commission and engineering consultants from GHD and FTCH explained a new road project in the township.
Beginning shortly after Labor Day 2016, a new compact urban roundabout will be built to replace the existing intersection at Ann Arbor-Saline and Textile roads. In addition, Textile Road from the new intersection east to Maple Road will be resurfaced. The project should be completed before winter.
Many people came to the open house wanting to learn more about the plan. Some others came with their mind already made up.
The meeting was not to pitch the idea, nor to seek citizen input. It was to tell residents what is going to be done.
“The really scary thing for the citizens is this was all decided, predetermined by the road commission,” one Textile Road resident said. “It was not presented to the public.”
This citizen, who asked not to be named, also pointed out that the number of accidents greatly increased at State and Ellsworth in Ann Arbor after a roundabout was installed there. He admitted, however, that this was largely because many people did not understand how to use them.
The various experts at the open house told a different story. While acknowledging that the number of accidents may have increased at that one site, they said that accidents usually decrease after a roundabout is installed.
Perhaps more importantly, the accidents that happen in roundabouts are less severe. The road commission says there has never been a fatal accident in a roundabout in Washtenaw County.
The roundabout to be built at the Saline-Ann Arbor and Textile intersection is a relatively new design, smaller than the one at State and Textile. Only two of these have so far been built in Washtenaw County, at the intersections of Textile and Stony Creek and Textile and Hitchingham in Ypsilanti.
Mark Lenters, a roundabout designer from GHD, said that this installation reduced long queues at these intersections.
“People have told us they are quite pleased,” Lenters said.
Curt Brochue (center back) of the County Road Commission discusses the model layout of the intersection with visitors and fellow experts.
The Washtenaw County Road Commission and its consultants will host an information open house to inform the public about two major road projects in 2016, including roundabout planned for the intersection of Ann Arbor-Saline and Textile roads. The other project, also in Lodi Township, is surfacing Textile Road from Ann Arbor-Saline to Maple Roads.
The open house takes place at the Lodi Township hall from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.., Wednesday, Jan. 14. Lodi Township Hall is located at 3755 Pleasant Lake Road.