Q & A with Bryan Santo, Director, Macomb County Department of Roads
Q: What is the history of Mound Road?
A: Since its construction in the 1940s, Mound Road has been a valuable asset and vital corridor for our community and the economy. From the production of tanks during World War II to modern-day high-tech research and production, the corridor has served as a major hub for national automotive, defense, aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Mound Road is rich with history and the Innovate Mound project will support the continued legacy of innovation, economic investment, and manufacturing for decades to come.
Q: How important is Mound Road to the local economy?
A: The Mound Road corridor has a substantial economic impact on the region, state, and country that reaches far beyond Macomb County. More than 47,000 people are employed along the corridor, which supports an additional 71,100 jobs in the County. Another 101,000 jobs in Michigan are supported by the corridor’s business activity. Combined, $8.7 billion in wages and benefits are paid to the more than 118,000 employees in Macomb County.
Q: Why are we reconstructing Mound Road?
A: Mound Road is a major roadway that connects people, communities, and commerce. Mound Road is a critical connection between heavily traveled I-696 and M-59, which connect to 1-94 and I-75, two of the longest interstates in the country. On average, 70,000 vehicles travel on the road daily. The Mound Road corridor is home to 71 major employers and thousands of small businesses that depend on reliable roadways. The Innovate Mound project will strengthen the region and enhance connectivity by incorporating state-of-the-art design and smart technology to create a modern corridor that will serve our region well into the future.
Q: Who was involved in the decision to seek a grant from the federal government to reconstruct the road?
A: Mound Road is an economic engine supporting more than 200,000 jobs in Macomb County and across the state. Recognizing the economic and logistical importance of the corridor, Macomb County and the cities of Sterling Heights and Warren with the support of business and community leaders spearheaded an effort to secure an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation for Mound Road. The Innovate Mound project received the largest grant ever awarded to a non-state agency totaling more than $97 million. The project is a leading example of community partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation between Macomb County, Sterling Heights and Warren. This project is a significant investment to create modern, efficient, reliable infrastructure to retain jobs today and sustain future economic and regional growth.
Q: Once construction is complete, how will the improvements to Mound Road impact the community?
A: Innovate Mound will enhance the entire corridor from I-696 in Warren to M-59 in Sterling Heights. The project will create smoother roads for safer and more reliable transportation and commuting, It will also incorporate mobility and technology that matches the level of innovation of businesses operating in the corridor while supporting their long-term needs and , reducing congestion. This will be accomplished by the use of improved design and smart technologies such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), traffic signals and signs, connected vehicles pilot projects, and real-time traffic monitoring. The project will transform Mound Road into a user-friendly corridor that is safe for everyone, will enhance surrounding communities and improve the overall travel experience.
Q: How is the project team working with the community ahead of construction?
A: The Innovate Mound project team is currently meeting with residents, local businesses, community organizations, schools, law enforcement, and emergency first responders to gather input and feedback that will help plan for the maintenance of traffic and access during construction. During these meetings the team is also collecting input from the community to ensure that all needs are considered during the planning and design of the project.
Q: How will the public know what’s happening once construction is ready to begin?
We will provide traffic alerts and construction plans through the Innovate Mount project website, newsletter, local media, and social media to help residents, motorists, and businesses navigate Mound Road during construction. We also established a 24/7 hotline for the project, 1-855-MOUND-4U (668-6348), for anyone who has questions or would like additional information about the project.
Q: Why should businesses and residents support this construction project?
A: Innovate Mound has received unprecedented support from the community, including small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and community leaders. The Mound Road corridor along with major infrastructure across the state and nation is facing major challenges due to aging condition. The existing infrastructure of Mound Road is more than 30- years -old, has surpassed the average roadway expectancy of 25 years, and is in need of a significant, long-term solution. The Innovate Mound project will rebuild the road and create a world-class corridor that will serve residents, motorists and businesses for the next 30 years. This is a once in a generation project that the entire community can take pride in.
Q: Why is this project important to the community’s future?
A: Macomb County is our home. It’s where we live, work, and enjoy everything our community has to offer. Rebuilding this critical corridor will enhance our region, strengthen our economic future and provide the infrastructure necessary for Macomb County to continue to connect, grow and thrive.