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Residents Get Close Look at Roundabout Plans in Farmington Hills

Road Commission for Oakland County staff members take feedback and answer questions during a Wednesday open house held at Warner Upper Elementary.

Area residents got their first look Wednesday at detailed plans for a construction project that will dramatically change the 14 Mile/Orchard Lake/Northwestern Hwy. intersection in Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield. 

The installation of a turnabout and related road improvements will take more than eight months, with the project staged in four phases during the 2014 construction season. Different sections of 14 Mile Road will be completely closed for all but the final phase, and plans call for two-way traffic to be open at all times on other roads, for the duration. 

Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) design engineer Jeff O'Brien said those who came to the open house at Warner Upper Elementary School in Farmington Hills wanted information about the project, and to share their own thoughts.

"There's been some concerns about how traffic is going to move through the area during construction, accessibility ... some of the proposed road closures associated with the project," he said. "They are looking at pedestrian access ... and just the general design of the project."

O'Brien said that plans have not been finalized, and there is still time for people to speak up. He explained the roundabout emerged from public discussions in the "early 2000s" as the preferred alternative among a host of options for addressing traffic circulation in the area. 

RCOC has already built roundabouts at Maple and Drake, Maple and Farmington and 14 Mile and Farmington in the first part of the Northwestern Connector Project, which involves RCOC, Michigan Dept. of Transportation, West Bloomfield Township and the City of Farmington Hills in a long-term effort to reduce traffic congestion and improve the connection between M-10 (Northwestern) and M-5, west of Haggerty. 

"We've had fairly good success with the roundabouts in place," O'Brien said. "We have seen good movement through them." 

Other elements of the 2014 project include:

  • reconstructing Orchard Lake from 14 Mile Road to just north of the Gateway shopping center
  • reconstructing and realigning the 14 Mile Road/Northwestern Highway intersection
  • realigning 14 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Northwestern Highway

Funding for the Northwestern Connector project comes from the federal and state government, Oakland County, West Bloomfield Township and the City of Farmington Hills. Total cost of the first phase, which includes a total of eight roundabouts, three of which have not yet been built, will be approximately $70 million.

For more information, visit rcocweb.org or nwconnector.com

M. Chudnov March 28, 2013 at 12:47 PM
So many people do not follow the rules of roundabouts on the 3 roundabouts already built (1 on Drake & 15 & 2 on Farmington @ 14 & 15 mile roads). Too many people go too fast, cut off others, don't yield, etc. I do not approve of this decision but I am just one person. Planning to use other businesses than ones I now use on Orchard Lake Road. Majority wins & the decision has been made. So be it. I'll move on & possibly move to a different area in the future.
Jim Sparks March 28, 2013 at 02:26 PM
It's a pretty simple concept, not too hard to figure out if one makes the effort. Bemoaning change simply because some are too lazy or obstinate to deal with it doesn't bode well for progress. This intersection has been trouble for years. They are trying to deal with it in a long-planned and well thought-out manner. Threatening to move doesn't help anything. Open your mind and give it a chance.
Barbara Megerian March 28, 2013 at 03:18 PM
I was unsure about using the roundabouts already constructed. After using them when traffic is light, I became more confident. I approve of them now. Am looking forwrd to the next at 14 Mile and Orchard. It will be a mess for a while, but in the end will be a good plan.
Ryan March 28, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I love the roundabout. I never have a problem with the current ones. I do notice when friends use them the first time they usually exit their lane but after a few uses, they get used to it.
Patrick March 30, 2013 at 03:51 AM
I live close to this intersection and avoid it as much as possible, as it is a headache to drive through, from 14 to orchard or nw hwy, and back. I welcome the roundabouts and hope they improve the situation. Is there a map showing the completed phase? The picture above appears far too small, esp. on this phone.
Roundabouts are a fabulous addition to the area. But frankly I would like to know where the roundabout is on the recently reconstructed intersection of Orchard Lake and 11 Mile Road. That intersection makes no sense for the amount of traffice that DOES NOT flow through there. And while I am complaining, I can't help but wonder how many BILLIONS of gallons of gasoline are wasted in Michigan with these ridiculous "Michigan left turn" intersections. For crying out loud (especially at Oerchard and 11 Mile) there is plenty of room to pull into a left turn lane and TURN LEFT. But no... we must wait at the light, turn right, turn left, wait at the light, turn left, wait at the light and then proceed - burning $4 per gallon of gas and wasting 3 minutes of our time. That makes no sense... especially in front of FH City Hall where we drilled to the center of the earth to get free heat that will never EVER pay for itself. Thank you. Rant over. Proceed.

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