Note: This article first appeared on Macomb Business, reprinted here with permission.
County Executive Mark A. Hackel yesterday joined Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative Sander Levin, Representative Paul Mitchell, Mayor Jim Fouts and Mayor Michael Taylor to share progress in the effort to rebuild Mound Road, one of the most important roadways in southeast Michigan. The focus of the afternoon was the Innovate Mound project and its receipt of a $97.8 million U.S. Department of Transportation Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant. Announced in June, the grant required a 90 day congressional review period. That period is now complete and the grant has moved on to the next phase of obligating funds and negotiating contracts.
Yesterday’s gathering, held at the Gazebo Banquet Center in Warren, offered community leaders the opportunity to reflect on the hard work that went into the grant process while also forecasting the construction and changes ahead for Mound Road. Most importantly perhaps, the occasion allowed the leaders to discuss what the future Mound Road will look like and how it will be a model roadway for cities around the nation.
“In 2016, more than 100 business and community leaders gathered to learn how we could work together to fix the mess that is Mound Road,” said County Executive Mark Hackel. “Together, we educated ourselves about how to transform this critical corridor and to advocate for change. Our efforts enabled us to receive funding that will not only completely rebuild the road, but also equip it with a smart infrastructure network while improving traffic flow, sidewalks, pedestrian bridges and wayfinding. When it’s complete, Mound Road will be a shining example of the future of our roads nationwide. It will go from the worst stretch of road to one that will be recognized around the nation.”
The construction effort is slated to begin in 20 months and will tackle a critical nine-mile, eight-lane connection between I-696 and M-59. All told, the entire project will cost about $184.6 million. The grant will cover more than half of that, while additional funding will come through matches made by Macomb County, Sterling Heights and Warren. This cooperation and collaboration was highlighted by everyone who spoke today, including Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“I have worked closely with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and local officials to urge Secretary Chao to provide the funding that is needed to repair this road,” she said. “Our efforts demonstrate, once again, that when we work together, we can get things done for Michigan families.”
Another major theme of yesterday’s gathering – how vital Mound Road is to the economic health of our region. Mound is home to more than 81,000 jobs in the manufacturing, automotive, aerospace and defense sectors and is responsible for billions of dollars of output. That’s one major reason why this project was such a high-priority for everyone involved and something all speakers, including Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. Paul Mitchell, Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor and Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, mentioned in their remarks.
“This is a major industrial corridor,” said Mayor Fouts. “With GM, Chrysler, Ford, General Dynamics, TARDEC and TACOM – it’s a high-tech hot spot.”
Before closing the event, Hackel shared several details around maintenance on Mound Road that will occur ahead of the grant-funded construction. He directed all attendees to https://innovatemound.org/ for information on this and other work related to the roadway.
Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.