When we launched the initiative to transform Mound Road in 2017, we were hopeful that our collaboration with community partners, businesses, and stakeholders would lead to a federal INFRA (Infrastructure For Rebuilding America) grant award. The grant, which we received in 2018, was a recognition of the importance of the Mound Road corridor to manufacturing in the state of Michigan and the country. Over the past 10 years that I have served as Director of Planning for the Macomb County Department of Roads, I can’t remember an INFRA grant that has been awarded to a local municipality. So, this is a very exciting project in a variety of ways.
My role on the Innovate Mound corridor project is to oversee the project details and funding for the grant. I also coordinate between the different Macomb County departments and HNTB, the project management company hired to manage the project.
I think the most important part of the planning process is receiving as much public input as possible in the pre-construction phase and educating the community on what’s coming in the construction phase. Those that we have already met with are supportive but are also concerned about the day-to-day operations of their organization. During construction, we want to prevent downtime for the businesses on Mound Road so their participation in the planning process is important and has been instrumental.
A successful planning process also prevents potential negative effects on the wetlands and habitats near the road. We will also take a look at all the utilities and make sure there will be no impact on businesses or residents when we start road development. All of the research, public feedback, and assessments will be compiled into a summary report with recommendations that can be incorporated into the road design. Input from area residents is equally important so that we can develop ideas for minimizing construction impacts to them as much as we can.
When we finish this project in 2024, Mound Road will be prepared for new smart driving technologies and many more decades of service to our community. We will enter a new era, where Mound Road will influence the economic health of our region, state, and country in a positive way.