By Jim Newell
The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) expects to close the Flint/Miller/Orion roads intersection on Sept. 10 to begin construction on a roundabout.
The closure, on the Orion Township/Village of Lake Orion border, is expected to last until early November, according to an update from the road commission.
During the closure, the detour routes will be:
Eastbound or westbound Flint/Miller Road traffic: Flint Road to Perry Street to Atwater Street to Orion Road to Conklin Road to Miller Road and vice versa.
Northbound Orion Road traffic needing to access Flint Road or Flint Road traffic needing to access southbound Orion Road: Orion Road to Atwater Street to Perry Street to Flint Road and vice versa.
Northbound Orion Road traffic needing to access Miller Road or Miller Road traffic needing to access southbound Orion Road is Orion Road to Conklin Road to Miller Road and vice versa.
The intersection carries approximately 7,000 vehicles per day, according to the RCOC.
The contractor for this project is Commerce Construction & Landscape of Milford.
For more information on this project, visit RCOC’s Flint, Miller and Orion Road Roundabout project page of the RCOC Website at www.rcocweb.org/443/Flint-Miller-and-Orion-Road-Roundabout.
The intersection is well-known for traffic backups during the morning and afternoon peak travel times, with drivers also waiting for long periods in driveways and side streets to turn on to the main roads.
Tom Blust, RCOC director of engineering, said the roundabout should address some of the traffic congestion at the intersection, especially during those peak travel times and is not a safety issue.
“The existing issue is the backup on Orion Road in the evening, the p.m. rush hour, and in the morning, it backs up on Flint Street, so the intersection is not operating very efficiently,” Blust said. “We’re told backups continue all the way to Atwater, sometimes beyond that.”
People traveling on Orion Road do bypass the intersection by cutting through Atwater to Perry Street and then back to Flint Street where there isn’t enough of a gap in traffic for cars to turn left on to Flint Street.
People living near the intersection also have complained about the problem of getting out of their driveways because of the lack of gaps in traffic.
“We’re hoping to solve those issues. Or at least make it better. It may not solve all the problems, but it’s a mini-roundabout in a relatively small intersection and we’re trying to make it better,” Blust said.
The roundabout is designed to keep traffic flowing and is not a safety issue.
“This is not driven by crashes. We don’t have a large number of crashes here. It’s not a safety project, it’s more of a traffic operations improvement project,” Blust said.