Metro Detroit traffic: Construction on M-59 coming to a close

Posted at 7:21 AM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 07:21:55-04

Spring temperatures are gone and the orange barrels that mark “construction season” will soon follow them out the door.

A major overhaul of M-59 began early this Spring, and the first phase will begin to wrap up later today.

MDOT tells 7 Action News that they’ll be removing the orange barrels that have peppered Hall Road (M-59) between Garfield and M-53 for the past few months. The next phase won’t begin until next Spring, which has those who live in the area excited for easier trips to and from area businesses.

“To get over here for lunch, oh my gosh,” said Maureen Scapini. “It’s a trek!”

Scapini was attempting to get to La Marsa which is one of the many businesses that’s seen a downturn in foot traffic since the construction hit it’s peak earlier this year. The owner noted that he had only opened the doors briefly before the construction, but he still noticed the effects it had on his business.

Despite the headache, it’s caused business owners like Asfaw Tadesse, the owner of La Marsa, he still believes the work was a necessity. He noted the conditions had been deteriorating for years.

“The timing was not good for us, but it’s obvious the road needed to be repaired,” said Tadesse.

Matthew Hunter, the manager of American  Home Fitness on Hall Road, echoed those sentiments. He, like Tadesse, said the lack of foot traffic was hurting business, but that ultimately he was willing to suffer through this Spring’s work if it meant a better, safer road.

“We definitely saw a decrease in foot traffic,” said Hunter, “but it had gotten so bad I even avoided the area when I could. I would brace for impact and you would just clench thinking about your suspension and what this is going to cost you over the next 12 to 18 months.”

Three roads remained open throughout the construction process, but Diane Cross of MDOT noted when construction began that with the traffic they see along Hall Road it would cause backups.

“It really has freeway quantity traffic with hundreds of drivers coming in and out of that stretch between the malls and all of the business, the hospital and college,” said Cross.

The next step of the M-59 construction project will commence next Spring with the work continuing from Garfield road, where phase I ended, and extending to Romeo Plank Road. 

The total cost of the reconstruction project is $63 million. Phase II will include adding a fourth lane in a large chunk of the road that currently only extends three lanes.

Construction barrels will remain at the Hayes Road intersection this weekend due to ongoing utility work — the rest of the barrels will be removed beginning late Friday.