By Jessica Mathews /

A virtual meeting is planned for residents and other stakeholders who will be impacted by a roundabout construction project next year.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission will be building a single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Pontiac Trail and North Territorial Road in Salem Township during the 2022 construction season. Officials say it’s an optimal solution because a roundabout can safely move greater volumes of traffic, including tractor-trailers, through an intersection more efficiently and with less congestion than a traditional intersection at lower speeds.

A press release noted the Road Commission monitors numerous intersections across the county for traffic volumes and safety. It says the intersection at Pontiac Trail and North Territorial Road was selected as North Territorial Road currently has a higher traffic volume than what’s recommended for the existing design. In addition, traffic volumes are expected to increase as the neighboring communities continue to grow.

A roundabout was said to be the ideal solution to help safely handle current and future traffic volumes at the intersection and address capacity needs while also reducing emissions from idling vehicles. For reference, the roundabout will be slightly larger in size than the roundabout constructed last year at the intersection of Pontiac Trail and 7 Mile Road.

Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2022. The Road Commission estimates it will take approximately 8 weeks to build the roundabout, weather pending. During that time, the intersection will be completely closed to traffic and a detour will be posted.

A virtual public information meeting about the project is scheduled on Wednesday, June 23rd at 11am via Zoom. More information is available in the provided link.

That project was one of several discussed by the Washtenaw County Road Commission during a recent virtual kick-off meeting to mark the start of the 2021 construction season.

Preservation programs that aim to protect investments and keep roads in good condition were detailed along with resurfacing projects, limestone and gravel treatments, and bridge and pathway projects.

One large project described as a true reconstruction will be Zeeb Road in Lodi Township, which was said to be one of the busiest unpaved primary roads the Road Commission will be investing in this year. Work also began recently on the Mast Road Bridge over the Huron River that borders the City of Dexter. That’s being done with lane closures and two-way traffic maintained with a temporary traffic signal on the bridge. It was stated that a lot of work has been done but there’s still a long way to go as Michigan has dug a very deep hole they’re trying to dig out of.

With so much construction taking place both locally and all over the state, Kizer said they ask everyone to slow down and avoid work zones if possible – noting five workers killed statewide in work zones, while three of their employees had close calls in which they were hit by a mirror as a car went speeding by in a work zone. In addition, there have been multiple crashes where people have driven into their vehicles on a roadway and numerous intrusions into the work zone where people have ignored multiple barricades. Kizer said in one instance a van drove off into a road where the pavement was removed and abandoned the vehicle. Then last year, a vehicle with what they believe was a trailer went around multiple road closure barricades and pieces of equipment and damaged $20,000 worth of concrete.

Detailed project information, daily updates, and other resources are available on the Road Commission’s website. A weekly road work schedule is published every Thursday.

Photo: Google Street View.