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Dixie businesses ready for road work

March 13, 2013 - Starting April 1, fewer lanes on Dixie Highway will be open, and 395 businesses along the busy thoroughfare will feel the impact.

According to Penny Shanks Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has been "extremely proactive" in working with the businesses thus far.

MDOT intends to resurface 9 miles of US-24 from just south of Telegraph Road to just north of I-75 in Oakland County. The $19.2 million project will cause three center lane closures on Dixie Highway over a few weekends. Northbound and Southbound traffic will experience right lane closures throughout the day, and overnight up to three lanes will be closed, leaving one lane open in each direction.

Preparation for the construction has already begun, and the project will be done in two phases this summer. Phase 1 is set to start on April 1 and end in mid June. It will focus on Dixie Highway going from Frembes to M-15.

The second phase will mainly impact the Waterford area and the final segment of Dixie Highway from M-15 to I-75. The work will begin mid June and conclude around November 1.

Shanks notes some of the resurfacing project will impact businesses like Neiman's Market, which will be holding their grand opening during the roadwork. "We'll cut the ribbon anyway," she said.

Despite the potential challenges for local businesses caused by the Dixie Highway resurfacing, Shanks said she was appreciative of MDOT and Independence Township. "I'm not getting a feeling that they don't care," she said.

In fact, she noted Supervisor Pat Kittle and Treasurer Paul Brown made a commitment to go to each business and talk with them about MDOT's plans.

Brown said, "He and I are going to be hitting the ground and just saying hello to the different businesses along Dixie just to reassure them that we are concerned about this process and that we want to be on top of it to make sure [MDOT] meets the deadlines that are in place."

From Brown's point of view, if MDOT meets their deadlines, "business owners can manage to it."

On top of getting a visit from the township's treasurer and supervisor, Kittle notes, "every business will be contacted by MDOT" too. MDOT has set up an email account and twitter feed to help businesses track the resurfacing and find out when their operation will feel the most impact, Shanks said.

As the work to resurface Dixie Highway starts to pick up in April, Kittle added that while there shouldn't be any road closures, "it wouldn't be a bad idea to find an alternate route."

Find out about the Dixie Highway project by visiting www.michigan.gov/drive. Get Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/mdot_metrodet or call 248-451-0001.

Clarkston News reporter
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