M-24 northbound to close as project enters Stage 2

Solar powered vibration monitors, like this one in Centennial Park, are collecting baseline vibration data ahead of construction downtown.

By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
The first stage of the M-24 project is wrapping up work on the east Drahner Rd. intersection. If all goes well and there are no weather delays or unforeseen events, the next phase of the project will start around June 3.
Crews will switch from the east Drahner intersection to the west intersection. The west Drahner closure will last up to 32 days. Work will also begin proceeding north of Drahner on the east side of M-24.
All northbound traffic will be closed between Drahner Rd. and Gateway Dr. Northbound traffic will be detoured through Glaspie St. as it turns into N. Oxford Rd, then west on Ray Rd. back to M-24.
Southbound M-24 traffic will continue to be one-lane-only. Traffic will still be able to head south on Glaspie St. as well.
Westbound Drahner traffic will be detoured through Glaspie St., west on Burdick St., then south on Pontiac St. back to W. Drahner.
Additional signage and striping on Glaspie will be finished before the main detour goes into effect, according to Word on the Street, Oxford Village’s newsletter for the project.
Consumers Energy can finally resume its utility work this week, with restrictions lifted, as it finishes tie-ins north of Burdick St.
MDOT construction engineer Brian Travis estimates work on the east side of M-24 will continue until the end of August. Then work will switch to the west side and continue through mid-November.
Light poles have been removed from the east side of M-24. They will be refurbished and reinstalled before poles from the west side are removed when the construction switches to that side.
There will be no temporary lighting on the east side, Village Manager Joe Madore said at a virtual town hall May 18. The work on the east side will take place in the summer months when it stays light later.
Madore is “more concerned with the fall” when it will get dark earlier and there will be no lighting on the west side.
“That’s a conversation we’ll have to have over the summer to see what our options are,” he said. “The only lighting I saw in the project, was for the contractor, for their own use when they’re working, probably in the fall when they’re trying to get finished up working into some dark.”
Brian Travis said the light poles on the west side are scheduled to be replaced in mid-October, so that side could still be without light in the early fall months.
Video inspections and documentation of buildings in the historic downtown have been completed.
Vibration monitors are now in place throughout the downtown area, where they are taking baseline measurements. “They’re very sensitive,” Travis said. “They don’t look like much, but they record a lot of data.”
When construction moves downtown, they will regulate vibration levels to prevent damage to nearby buildings.
MDOT is no longer planning to set up a field office downtown. Instead, they are looking at setting up a joint trailer with the contractor in the vacant lot across M-24 from Salvation Army, south of Drahner.
“Tentatively now, I think it’s going to be there.” Travis said.
In public meetings since last year, people were assured they would have a visible, accessible on-site presence where local officials, business owners or members of the public could conveniently go to ask questions or see project renderings.
“That’s something people are looking for,” Madore said.
Due to the coronavirus and a lack of parking downtown (not wanting to take too many spaces from restaurants and businesses), MDOT decided a trailer would be a better idea than renting a physical property downtown.
“We definitely plan to be available to answer questions at all times,” Travis said. “We can have meetings at the trailer. We’re always reachable and will get back in touch with whoever has questions.”
The next town hall meeting is scheduled for June 15.

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