Innovate Mound Newsletter – April 2020
The Innovate Mound newsletter is designed to keep you informed about the Innovate Mound project as it moves forward. Located in the cities of Warren and Sterling Heights, Macomb County, the project will reconstruct approximately nine miles of Mound Road between 11 Mile Road and M-59. We invite you to share this information with your friends, neighbors, employees, and 08constituents. We’d also like to hear from you—please contact us with your thoughts, ideas, questions, and concerns.
Traffic Before & After Shelter-in-Place
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be affecting all aspects of our lives. Mound Road traffic is no exception. The pictures below show traffic on Mound Road before and after the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place order was issued.
COVID-19 Update on the Mound Road Project
Dear Mound Road community,
I hope that you are all well even as our community faces these challenging circumstances. We have received questions regarding Innovate Mound and the project’s status, considering COVID-19 and Executive Order 2020-21, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” issued by Governor Whitmer.
Our primary concern is the safety of the public, our employees, contractors, consultants and their employees. We assessed whether every person working on the project could be appropriately protected by social distancing and the universal precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as they relate to COVID-19.
We determined that work could continue on required pre-construction work while adhering to these safety measures. This includes environmental analysis, traffic operations, access management, engineering, project delivery, emerging mobility and non-motorized planning. Our goal is to work safely to maintain the current schedule and begin construction in summer 2021 as planned.
We are also committed to maintaining public engagement. Our team is reaching out to continue meetings with key stakeholder groups using virtual technology and keeping everyone informed using the project’s email newsletter, website, social media and U.S. mail. All electronic meetings will be conducted in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-15 providing temporary authorization of remote participation in public meetings.
The purpose of Innovate Mound is to create a safe, 21st century, user-friendly, corridor for motorized vehicles, bikes and pedestrians that incorporates state-of-the-art design and smart technology. We look forward to working together with you to realize our goals.
I invite you to reach out to our team at any time with your ideas, questions, comments or concerns. Contact us through the project website, innovatemound.orgor through our 24-hour phone line, 1-855-MOUND-4U (668-6348). You can also contact Nate Ford, director of public engagement, directly at 313-319-4468.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a question about this project that you’d like to ask the project team? Email us today.
Q: Is there anything going to be done to help with the noise that is generated from Mound Road?
A: A noise analysis will be completed as part of the preliminary planning and engineering of the Innovate Mound project. The noise analysis will follow the FHWA Highway Traffic Noise Analysis and Abatement Guidance to determine if abatement measures are feasible, reasonable and cost effective.
Q: What is being done to ensure proper access for emergency vehicles during construction?
A: Meetings with all concerned first-responder organizations are ongoing to make sure construction proceeds in ways that permit them the access they need. First responder organizations will also be kept up-to-date with construction plans so that they can make any needed adjustments. In addition, an Emergency Preparedness Plan is being developed for the project construction period.
Q: Will all the sewers be replaced as part of this project?
A: All of the lateral sewer lines that cross the roadway will be replaced. The major trunkline sewers which are accessible are being assessed and will be repaired or replaced as necessary based both on condition and capacity requirements.
Q: What is being done about areas of Mound Road that flood during times of high precipitation?
A: Drainage capacities are being studied. Areas that don’t currently have adequate drainage capacity will be upgraded during construction.
Purposeful Project Planning
The overall mission of the Macomb County Department of Roads is “to provide the public with a quality county road system focusing on safety and convenience for motorists and the community, environmental responsibility, and financial accountability.” John Abraham, director of traffic & operations for Macomb County, and Skyler Waaso, project traffic engineer for HNTB make sure the Innovate Mound project lives up to the standards outlined in that mission statement.
The Results of Collaboration
Meet the Team – John Abraham, Director of Traffic & Operations, Macomb County
Before this project was a reality, the Department of Roads struggled with how to solve the challenges we continued to face with Mound Road. We were spending over $4.5 million every year to make repairs. But, reconstructing it at our own expense was cost-prohibitive. We decided to work with the cities of Sterling Heights and Warren to identify what was unique about Mound Road with the hope of using those characteristics to secure the funding needed to fully reconstruct the corridor.
Given the fact that Mound Road is already home to businesses that are leading the way in new technologies for the defense and automotive industries, we decided to position it as a smart technology corridor. Then, we engaged other local stakeholders to apply for the INFRA grant that we were awarded. That’s what is making the reconstruction project possible.
One of the best things about this project is that there has been complete cooperation between all the government stakeholders. This partnership has laid a strong foundation for bringing in additional public and private partners, who have all been overwhelmingly positive.
Mound Road is home to one of the country’s most densely populated manufacturing corridors. It also has a large residential population. This means the reconstruction is going to have a major impact on all of the constituencies served by the corridor. We are confident that, in the end, Mound Road will serve those that live and work in the area much better and will be a model of transportation innovation for others throughout our state and country.
Meet the Team – Skyler Waaso, Project Traffic Engineer
As the task lead for traffic and safety analysis for the Innovate Mound project, it is my job to determine what traffic issues are most common on the Mound Road corridor. Through surveys, research, and feedback from the public, I can help our team identify ways to improve common traffic flow in problem areas.
I’ve worked on many similar corridor studies, as well as many freeway and interchange projects, but the Innovate Mound project is unique. Macomb County really wants this to be an innovative corridor and the smart technologies that we are looking at could really improve the road for businesses and residents.
One of the most important factors in my work is the input of the public – the people who live and work on the road every single day. In fact, at the Innovate Mound 101 Public Open House, we were made aware of an issue one neighborhood is having accessing a pedestrian crossover point. We weren’t aware of this prior to hearing from residents, and we have since adjusted the project plans to give them better access.
If you travel on Mound Road regularly, we encourage you to share your concerns and observations with the Innovate Mound team. This input not only helps us identify issues we hadn’t previously considered, but it also helps us verify areas of concern we’ve already identified.
The most important thing for the public to remember about the Innovate Mound project is that it is incredibly complex. The needs of area business owners and residents, along with pedestrians, cyclists and all those who travel the corridor daily must be considered. But, I’m confident that when all is said and done, the Mound Road corridor will work well for everyone, and it will be something we can all be proud of.