By Rosemary K. Otzman
A new traffic signal on Belleville Road in front of an undeveloped field was unanimously endorsed by the Van Buren Township Planning Commission at its regular meeting Aug. 14.
David Nummer of Wade-Trim Engineers gave a presentation on the $780,000 federal grant received by the VBT Downtown Development Authority to make Belleville Road safer.
Nummer asked for the vote of support from the planning commission for the whole project, including placement of a new traffic light about 350 feet south of the Meijer store south drive.
Nummer said the four-way light would be placed where there is no driveway or road, but a development being proposed south of Meijer (AutoZone) has agreed to put a drive from the light curving around on the unimproved property to the Meijer parking lot.
There is nothing on the west side of the road, either, and so that light would be put up and bagged, Nummer said. The same property owner has the property on the east and west sides of Belleville Road at that point, he said.
He said the Michigan Department of Transportation has to approve the light placement and other details of the project.
Commission vice chairman Donald Boynton suggested that they do away with the south drive of Meijer’s that exits onto Belleville Road. Those turning south from that exit sometimes end up in collisions.
“It’s hard to change drivers’ habits, but we’ll do the best we can,” Nummer said, adding they are not going to prohibit left turns from the south Meijer drive.
He said the road project is expected to go out for bids in November, have the bids let in January or February and have the construction next spring and summer.
Nummer said the new developer’s project (AutoZone) south of Meijer is expected to dovetail with this road project.
He explained a proposal to put a light at the north drive into Walmart was turned down because it was too close to the light at the main Walmart drive.
Nummer said out of 36 or 37 applications for the federal funds, which became available suddenly, only seven were funded and VBT’s project got the most funds.
The project will be on Belleville Road from the South I-94 Service Drive north to Tyler Road. Nummer said this is the 13th most-dangerous roadway for crashes in Wayne County.
The evening of the meeting, there was a head-on collision in the area of the planned traffic signal.
The project is to modernize the existing signals and replace six signals with black mast arms like on Ecorse Road and replace all the controllers and timers, to make it a safe experience for bicyclists.
There will be some new asphalt laid along the roadway, replacement of cracked and damaged roadway and replacement of sidewalk curb ramps with ADA designs.
The project is expected to cost $2.6 million, with $780,000 in federal aid and the rest paid by the VBT DDA.
He said they are now working with the MDOT to get everything permitted.