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Archive for the ‘roads’ Category

I don’t want to sound complaining; I hate continuous grumbling about the weather. But we’ve had a very abbreviated traditional Spring. What we have had here in the city, and it comes every year like one of the four seasons, is a lot of road construction.

I grew up in a town that was very passive on road, street and sidewalk repair. Other than major county-run projects, I’m not sure our city fixed anything. This may seem like an odd word, but Plymouth is almost aggressive in its street and sidewalk repair initiatives. The last two years, especially, the city has had major intersections torn up for months at a time.  I’m a believer in having decent roads.  Sheldon Road in Canton is an example of what happens when there’s no initiative and/or money to keep roads in good shape.  I’m glad that Plymouth dedicates money to keeping streets, not only downtown but in the neighborhoods, in decent shape.  At least you know that our bad streets will soon be fixed.

That said, why must it take weeks or months to fix one intersection?  Why does a 300 feet stretch of road have to be torn up for so long? Perhaps there’s no money to pay overtime, but make quick repair part of the bidding process.  We’re talking about asphalt in most cases.  That’s laid down quickly.

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ll know that it is hard to get to many of the businesses, even on a bike.  I s’pose the inconvenience will pay itself off for the longer short term (i.e. until next construction season.)

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If you’ve been downtown in the last few weeks, you’ve noticed that the intersection of Penniman and Main Street is under construction.  Getting around downtown is more difficult given that Main Street is closed between Ann Arbor Trail and Fralick.

The Downtown Development Authority’s official information packet indicates the expected completion date for the project is May 4, 2011.

Here are some photos from the DDA’s Facebook page.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

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to have our streets adequately plowed/cleared.

After last night’s surprising snowfall — not that we got snow at all but that we got so much — I wondered how bad the roads and streets in town would be.  They were worse than expected.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Plymouth city plows cleared my street before 8 a.m.  Of course, they re-buried the mouth of my driveway, but that’s how it goes.

Tonight, 13 hours after my street was cleared, there are streets in the city still unplowed.  They’re a mess.  If you get unlucky and have to stop at a stop sign or light, you’re likely to get stuck at some of the intersections.  I didn’t get stuck completely, but I had a few intersections that I was nearly unable to cross because I couldn’t get traction in a foot of snow.

Along Ann Arbor Road, I saw a van and a car stuck in huge snow piles in the driveways of Arby’s and the Mobil at Sheldon Road.  These piles were in the road, not fully in the parking lot of these businesses.

I know there’s a budget crunch right now.  No one likes paying taxes.  I certainly don’t feel it’s my right to spend other people’s money or raise their taxes.  But can we get a voluntary pool in which whoever wants to contribute can throw in a few bucks to help pay for more plowing?  I’ll chip in some money.  The city can just add it to the water bill.

 

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The most devastating storm of our lifetimes — if you believed all the pre-storm hype — came and went Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  Roads were deserted but passable.  The City of Plymouth plows were out on residential streets early Wednesday morning and made them clear enough to drive.  The amount of snow, except where drifts were created, was quite manageable.

I, at the editor’s request, contributed some photos from around town while enjoying my half day off yesterday.  You can see them at Plymouth Patch.

http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/articles/winter-storm-drops-6-inches-in-southeast-michigan-5#photo-4722612

 

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It’s no surprise that there are potholes everywhere.  It’s that time of year and our roads here in Michigan are not that good even in good weather.

It’s also no surprise that Sheldon Road is full of potholes (enough to fill the Albert Hall,perhaps).  Sheldon Road has been bad since I was a kid.  What is surprising is just how awful it is right now.

Between Ford Road and Joy Road, parts of Sheldon Road are damned near impassible.  There are potholes everywhere.  Where there aren’t holes, the road is like cobblestone from all the patching over the years.  When you’re not dodging holes or bouncing over patch bumps, your car is pelted with pebbles of broken asphalt, concrete, rocks and soil run off from the road side.

It’s not my style to overstate things, but Sheldon Road on that two mile stretch is so bad that to drive on it is to put your car in serious risk of being damaged.  The road is simply too narrow along most of that stretch to dodge all the holes.  At night that stretch is not well lit and it’s almost impossible to see the holes until you’re right on top of them.

The stretch of Sheldon that runs through Plymouth Township and the City of Plymouth is in great shape.  No real problems there, at least nothing I’ve seen.  But in Canton, the road is in horrendous shape.

If you have to travel south from this area to Canton, I strongly suggest you avoid Sheldon if at all possible.  Wait until the patching crews have time to fill some of the holes.  Why risk blowing a tire or snapping a tie-rod?

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If, by chance, you see this before you head out for the day (2/10/09), please be very very careful.  The roads and sidewalks in town are extremely slippery.  There is a lot of visible and invisible (black) ice.

I nearly fell 3 or 4 times just walking around the block.  My car also spun out in a parking lot when I gently applied the brakes.

My guess is that by late morning or early afternoon, all that ice will be gone.  It’s not very cold out, just cold enough to make all that melted snow freeze in thin sheets.

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Merry Christmas citizens of Plymouth (and surrounding areas.) After nearly two years, the Sheldon Road-M-14 underpass is open.  What a relief!

No longer will we have to drive through the middle of the City and/or Old Village to get to Northville or northwestern Livonia. If there are trains running through the middle of town, we can finally head under them at Sheldon Road.

My daughter went to school in Northville for two years and most of that time, our commute to school had to go through town due to  the underpass construction.  I can’t count how many times she was late for school because of trains.  Even when we started the trip with plenty of time to spare, trains (or the resulting backup) could take 10, 15 minutes or more to clear.  It was a headache, a maddening, soul-chomping commuter’s nightmare.

I can’t wait to use the underpass.  I think I’m going to drive it today just to do it, just for the hell of it.

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