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Alleviating congestion and upgrading safety on M-53

In 1939, the State of Michigan designated Van Dyke Avenue as Earle Memorial Highway in honor of the first State Highway Commissioner, Horatio S. "Good Roads" Earle. Since then, Van Dyke Avenue has been through numerous transitions, from completing the first M-53 highway portion between 18 and 27 Mile roads in 1965 to completing the Romeo Bypass in 1992. Despite some of these modernizations, one aspect has remained consistent since Van Dyke Avenue transitioned from a farming road to a commuting corridor: congestion.

If you live or commute on M-53 (Van Dyke Avenue) in Macomb County, you are familiar with the steady back-ups during rush hour. With the location of many major commute roads funneling into Van Dyke Avenue between 34 Mile and Bordman roads, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Metro Region knew a new design was needed to aid in easing congestion and improving safety. After two years of planning and trying to acquire the needed, yet elusive, funding, MDOT will now be implementing key upgrades that will benefit all motorists using this area.

A valuable step in MDOT's design process involved working with the community who use our trunklines every day. Two meetings were held in 2010 and 2012 to discuss MDOT's planned design, including and open question and answer session. By listening to locals, commuters, and municipalities well in advance, we were able to address their concerns within the design. MDOT also teamed up with DTE to have existing utility poles moved to accommodate construction.

Construction begins in mid-March and will include widening the west side of M-53 within the project limits, as well as replacing utilities and constructing turn lanes at key intersections. Local traffic will be maintained to all businesses and residences, and detours will be posted around the full closure at 34 Mile and Ebeling roads through the expected project completion in October.

For more information on this project, check out the news release on the MDOT Web site. Do you live or commute in this area? Tell us what you think at morosir@michigan.gov.

Mark Koskinen
Senior Contracts Project Manager
MDOT Macomb/St. Clair TSC