By Jim Newell
Construction on the roundabout at the Orion Road/Miller Road/Flint Street intersection will not be completed until mid-to-late November, according to a project update from the Road Commission for Oakland County.
The intersection remains closed during construction, which was delayed due to utility issues, the RCOC said. Commerce Construction & Landscape of Milford is the contractor for the project.
“We know that having this intersection closed is inconvenient for area residents and businesses, and we greatly appreciate their patience,” stated RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “The Road Commission has offered the contractor incentives to finish the project as soon as possible, but, realistically, that’s a small, tight construction site, and the contractor is doing everything he can. He has committed to finish as quickly as possible.”
Road commission representatives also gave an update during the village council meeting on Monday.
“We are aware that the detour is difficult. We needed to get the project going,” said Tom Blust, project manager with the road commission. “It’s not an ideal situation, but bear with us a few more weeks.”
The contractor has begun paving the curbs in the intersection and hopes to begin asphalt work next week, according to the road commission.
“We know that there’s been some difficulties in that intersection,” said Village Council President Ken VanPortfliet, adding that Police Chief Jerry Narsh and Village Manager Joe Young have been working to keep residents in the area informed and address any concerns. “From my point of view, it’s (Young and Narsh) been working well.”
The project, which is expected to cost approximately $600,000, began Sept. 10 and was initially slated to be completed by Nov. 9. The project also includes reconstructing and paving the Flint, Miller and Orion Road approaches, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalks, ramps and crosswalks and storm sewer improvements.
Kolar noted the decision to construct the project in the fall, rather than during the summer, was made to accommodate the wishes of the Lake Orion community, which did not want the project to start until after the Dragon on the Lake event Aug. 23-26. He added that delaying the project’s start until after Labor Day meant that the intersection would have to be completely closed during the work in order to ensure the project could be completed by the end of construction season.
Kolar also acknowledged that the detour routes for through traffic while the intersection is closed are less than ideal. However, he noted, there simply are not any other roads available.
“As a matter of policy, we do not detour traffic onto subdivision or neighborhood streets,” he said. “And there are simply no other real options than the roads that are included in the detour routes.”
The detour routes for through traffic are: Atwater, Perry and M-24 west of the closure, while Conklin is the detour on the east side. Also available for traffic east of the work site are Conklin to Indian Lake Road to M-24.
“We appreciate everybody’s patience as we get through this project,” Kolar said. “We believe the result will be an improved intersection.”
Kolar also reminds motorists that cutting through the subdivisions in the immediate vicinity of the project is illegal and could result in a ticket.
The Flint, Miller and Orion Road intersection carries approximately 7,000 vehicles per day.
For more information about the project, visit the RCOC Website, www.rcocweb.org, and click on the “Road Projects” icon and then select the project.