A new park and ride lot will be constructed as part of a plan to help ease congestion along a busy corridor.

66,000 people travel US-23 on a daily basis between Brighton and Ann Arbor and the next stage of the US-23 Flex Route project is a public transit option along the corridor. The Michigan Department of Transportation has acquired 5.6 acres of land for a 180-space park and ride lot with lighting and landscaping near US-23 and 8 Mile, with rush hour oriented bus service. The preliminary service plan would include four trips in and four trips out to Ann Arbor, with stops at M-DOT’s Brighton Transportation Center and the University of Michigan on football game days. There would be capacity for approximately 500 people per day.

Representatives from M-DOT and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority made a presentation to the Livingston County Board of Commissioners during a meeting earlier this month. The visit was described as a courtesy, not a request for funding although it was noted a resolution or letter of support for the project might be needed in the future. Board chair Kate Lawrence told WHMI anything to help reduce congestion on US-23 and travel times for Livingston County residents is welcomed and they'll see how it goes.

M-DOT is funding capital costs and a federal grant is being pursued. Some improvements will need to be made to 8 Mile Road to accommodate the project and widening work will be done to add a center left turn lane. That’s estimated at $1.2 (m) million, with the design work and engineering done in house. Officials noted it’s a three year pilot project to see if it works, saying the project may be viable but there’s inherent uncertainty on ridership. If the service is popular, then it would be expanded and if not, then it would simply be shut down.

Design work is close to completion and the construction of the lot would begin in the summer of 2018. The anticipated opening would be late summer or early fall. (JM)