Livernois Road to close July 9

It’s official. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), the City of Rochester Hills and the City of Rochester announced that Livernois Road will close July 9 at the bridge over the Clinton River between Avon and Hamlin roads, when RCOC begins the replacement of the  bridge.

Officials held a press conference at Rochester Hills’ Veterans Park on Wednesday to make the announcement.

“A lot of road and bridge improvements are taking place this year in the greater Rochester area,” announced RCOC Chairman Eric Wilson. “While we recognize that this work is making travel in the community temporarily more challenging, it also represents tens of millions of dollars of investment in the community that will enhance mobility and safety for years to come.”

Wilson noted Avon Road between Livernois and Rochester Roads is expected to open by the end of this week, as the contractor substantially completes the replacement of the Avon bridge over the Clinton River. That section of Avon has been closed since February for the bridge replacement.

Then, on about July 9, work will begin on the Livernois bridge replacement project, and Livernois will close at the bridge between Avon and Hamlin roads. The Livernois bridge project is expected to be completed in November.

In August, Wilson said, RCOC will begin the widening and reconstruction of Crooks Road from Star Batt Drive to north of Hamlin Road in Rochester Hills. Additionally, MDOT is in the process of the $7.6 million reconstruction of Main Street/Rochester Road/M-150 from the Paint Creek bridge to the Clinton River bridge in downtown Rochester. That section of Main Street is expected to re-open to traffic in mid-July.

“We recognize that there is a lot of work going on in our community this year,” stated Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. “However, we believe it is better to get the improvements completed in one construction season than to drag them out over the course of two years. We know this is and will cause some short-term pain, but we also believe that is outweighed by the significant, long-term gain these projects will provide.”

Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino concurred. “Certainly it has been difficult to navigate around the Rochester area this year, and we greatly appreciate the patience of our residents and businesses,” he stated. “All this work, however, represents significant infrastructure upgrades for our community.”

And while to the layman it may appear that the various road agencies did not coordinate their projects in the Rochester area this year, nothing could be further from the truth, the officials noted. “The reality is that these major projects would be disruptive to traffic no matter what we did,” RCOC’s Wilson stated.

“Due to safety and traffic concerns, we were anxious to get the Avon and Livernois bridges replaced as soon as possible. Along with our partners at MDOT and Rochester Hills, we worked very hard to obtain the funding to do both bridges this year. We were well aware that the Main Street project in Rochester was occurring this year as well as our own Crooks Road widening project. However, we strongly believe that doing all the work this year was the best alternative.

“Had we waited longer to replace the two bridges, there is the very real chance we might have had to close one or both of the bridges in the near future due to their rapidly deteriorating condition. We also felt that getting all the work done in one year was a better alternative to spreading it out over two or more years: ‘One and done’ was the less painful alternative.”

Wilson noted the partners worked extensively to move the bridge funding into 2012. The Avon bridge funding was originally approved for 2013, while the Livernois bridge funding was originally approved for 2014. The majority of funding for both projects is from the Michigan Local Bridge Program, which is administered by MDOT and combines state and federal dollars.

Had the funding not been moved forward, and had one or both of the bridges deteriorated further, there was the very real danger that one or both could have been closed for one or two years until the funding became available.

During the Livernois bridge project, the detour route for Livernois traffic will be Avon Road to Rochester Road to Hamlin Road and back to Livernois and vice versa.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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