Representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) held a public meeting at the Washington Street Education Center on Thursday, April 16, to discuss the possible construction of an about $1.4 million, one-lane roundabout at the corner of M-52 and Werkner Road in 2016.
According to michigan.gov, “As the result of a recent road safety audit, MDOT is recommending a roundabout be installed at M-52 and Werkner Road as a way to increase safety and improve traffic flow at this location.”
About two dozen people were in attendance to listen to a presentation put on by MDOT, and to voice their concerns on the proposed project.
Many in attendance questioned whether the roundabout was already a done deal, to which MDOT representative Mark Sweeney responded, “To the folks who have asked if we have already made up our minds, well that’s what we’re here for. This is our first meeting. We’re talking about something different, but I’m thrilled that we were able to get this project on the program. I’m thrilled that we can seriously start talking about a solution that we can do for this area, because I’ve driven there, and I don’t like it.”
Residents brought up the heavy truck traffic, traveling both north and south on M-52, to which Sweeney responded that after similar installations in the state, he has received no complaints from truck drivers concerning these roundabouts.
Several residents asked “Why not a traffic light?”
Sweeny said that until recently, the intersection did not meet the MDOT warrants for a light. “Up until this point, we’ve been trying to do something. We were trying to do it with signing, with the installation of the right turn lane. But because the intersection now meets the warrants for a signal, the people looking at the numbers have said that ‘We can do better than a signal.”
Sweeney said, “Our experts have come to us and said based on the traffic patterns and the crash history, and the geometry of the area; we believe a roundabout is the best for the community.”
While resident concerns were many, there were a couple in attendance who favored the roundabout.
Sweeney stated, “We’re listening to your concerns; we’re going to take those into to consideration. There will be an additional public meeting as we get closer to construction.”