NewsGetting Around Metro Detroit


Road diet on Orchard Lake Rd. aims to add center turn lane, reduce crashes

Posted at 7:03 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 14:13:36-04

(WXYZ) — There are talks of a makeover for a road in Oakland County that's notorious for crashes.

Over a three-year period from 2017 to 2019, there were 398 crashes on Orchard Lake between Commerce and Middlebelt.

201 crashes happened at five intersections at Commerce Rd., Ward's Point, Cass Lake Rd., Warwick St. and Middlebelt.

Rear-end collisions made up a majority of the crashes, with 49% happening at the five intersections.

The Oakland County Road Commission believes the reason for all these crashes is a lack of a center turn lane, and now, two options on the table to create one would mean a road diet for Orchard Lake.
If you drive along Orchard Lake Road, you know just how busy it can get.

"It does look like there is a lot in the mornings, early mornings, and then late afternoons," Fernando Carbajal said.

"It does get pretty congested later in the day, so it has been little bit problematic for a lot of the local drivers here in the area," Chris Trudell added.

Right now, there are two lanes westbound and eastbound, creating backups and crashes for drivers making left-hand turns.

There are two options on the table to solve these issues.

The first – turning the road from four lanes to three lanes, with one lane westbound and eastbound and a continuous center turn lanes.

The second option is keep all four lanes, but only have one lane eastbound with a continuous center lane for turning.

An option not on the table, expanding it to five lanes.

"Anybody that is familiar with that corridor knows there is a number of buildings very close to the road. If we were to do that, number one it would be incredibly expensive, we have to buy a lot of right away, we'd also probably have to knock down a bunch of existing businesses, we certainly don't want to do that nor do we have money to do that," Oakland County Road Commission Senior Communications Manager Craig Bryson said.

Bryson said the option of keeping all four lanes is one that stakeholders liked the most, which includes representatives from all four communities Orchard Lake runs through.

But, they are still hoping for feedback from those who use the road in the form of an 8-question survey to see what the community wants.

The deadline to complete the survey is June 11, with the project coinciding with a 2023 repaving project. You can click here to complete the survey.