FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – The Road Commission for Oakland County is holding an open house Wednesday to gather input on a proposed roundabout for a busy intersection in Farmington Hills.
The public is invited to attend the forum, which takes place between 4 and 7 p.m. at Warner Upper Elementary School in Farmington Hills, to get details and provide input on the project expected to begin in 2014 near where 14 Mile and Orchard Lake roads meet Northwestern Highway.
The road commission says the project is intended to improve traffic flow and safety in and around the 14 Mile/Orchard Lake intersection, and is part of the Northwestern Connector project.
It would require reconstructing and realigning the 14 Mile Road/Northwestern Highway intersection and realigning 14 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Northwestern Highway. The project will also involve reconstructing Orchard Lake Road from 14 Mile Road to just north of the Gateway shopping center, including the Northwestern Highway/Orchard Lake Road intersection.
WWJ’s Ron Dewey hit the streets to find out what commuters think of the idea and got a mixture of cheers and jeers from drivers.
Some drivers are all for installing a roundabout in what has become the Bermuda Triangle of traffic.
“It can become a nightmare when the traffic is busy early in the morning and late in the day. This I think would move the traffic tremendously and allow people to move more freely in this area,” one man said.
“The traffic doesn’t move. It’s a disaster. To fix it with a roundabout would be fantastic for everybody around here,” one woman said.
Others, however, think a roundabout would create more problems than solutions.
“I hate them, they’re so confusing. I mean, where do you go,” one woman said.
“Older people got a problem with the roundabouts. They stop in it, you know, you have to really be careful in there because they stop when they get in the turn, they don’t know which way to go, they drive on the outside lanes to go straight but they get afraid and stop and then they cross over,” another woman said.
No matter what side of the argument drivers are on, most agree that something needs to be done to better manage traffic in the intersection. As one commuter put it, if a roundabout gets the job done, then “so be it.”
“They need to do something, anything. It’s a mess over there,” he said.