February 08, 2012 - A list of proposed improvements for a stretch of M-24, just north of the Village of Oxford, received the Michigan Department of Transportation's official blessing in a Jan. 27 letter.
These improvements are designed to deal with the increased traffic flow that would result from the potential commercial development of two vacant parcels on the east and west sides of the busy state highway.
"Now, that everyone knows what MDOT wants to see in that area, the developers will have an easier time designing their sites and getting things moving," said Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn.
Situated between Market St. to the north and the McLaren Oakland medical facility (385 N. Lapeer Rd.) to the south, these proposed road changes would only occur in conjunction with future development. Until then, M-24 stays as is.
The parcels awaiting development are a 7-acre property on the west side, owned by Anthony Calliea, and a 25-acre property on the east side, owned by Joe Kosik, of JFK Investments.
As of yet, no site plans for either parcel have been submitted or approved by the township, but the developers wanted to be clear about MDOT's wishes for that portion of M-24, so they can move forward when ready.
"MDOT's main concern is traffic flow and what's the best way to get people up and down that road without injury," Dunn said. "This letter addresses those issues and gives the go-ahead for how to handle them, so the developers will be able to design their sites with specific traffic patterns in mind."
Proposed M-24 improvements include:
n Relocating an existing southbound-to-northbound crossover so it's approximately 450 feet south of Market St.
n Constructing a new southbound-to-northbound crossover approximately 1,090 feet south of Market St.
n Constructing a new northbound-to-southbound crossover approximately 580 feet south of Market St.
n Eliminating the existing Chardonnay restaurant driveway and the bidirectional crossover in front of it.
n Constructing a new shared driveway for use by both Chardonnay and the Calliea property to the south.
n Constructing a second new driveway for the Calliea property and two new driveways for the Kosik property.
n Constructing right-turn lanes for each of the new driveways.
n Constructing a driveway to provide cross access between the Calliea property and Gateway Dr.
n Constructing a driveway to provide cross access between the McLaren Oakland medical facility and Gateway Dr.
MDOT noted the addition of another traffic signal in this area won't be warranted until developments on both sides of the road are "built out" to their maximum capacity.
"It does not appear likely that the signal warrant will be met in the near future," wrote Steve Stramsak, the MDOT traffic and safety engineer who penned the Jan. 27 letter. "Upon build-out and occupancy of both developments, MDOT will perform a signal study . . . to determine if a signal is warranted. If a signal is warranted, MDOT will install the signal using MDOT funds."
MDOT made it clear that all of the design and construction costs for the listed improvements – with the exception of a potential traffic signal – must be paid for by the developers, not the taxpayers.
"The state's not going to pay for anything – it's all up to the developers," Dunn said. "I think it's fair to make the developers pay because they're the ones creating the need for these changes to M-24. It wouldn't be fair to pass those costs onto the taxpayers."
Dunn is glad MDOT gave it's blessing to these proposed road improvements now because it will make everything a lot easier when the developers decide to move forward.
"It's basically eliminating a big hurdle in the development process," he said. "There will be no guessing about what MDOT wants or lengthy delays as plans and studies go back and forth between the state and the developers.
"(The developers are) still going to have to submit engineered drawings for the whole thing, but at least the idea of how M-24's going to look and how traffic's going to flow is set in stone."