Letters to the Editor March 4, 2023

Hadley and Oakwood
(In response to Hadley-Oakwood intersection, road expansion, work set for summer, The Citizen Newspaper, Feb. 11, 2023, page 1.)
I read with great interest the recent article in the Citizen regarding the reconstruction of the Oakwood / Hadley intersection, particularly the comments of Craig Bryson, senior manager of communications for the Road Commission for Oakland County.
He is correct that many residents who use this intersection have voiced the need for a roundabout. This is because they have witnessed its many accidents.
Bryson said the option was not feasible. He stated, “The biggest challenge for that intersection if a roundabout were to be built is environmental,” he said. “There are wetlands right up to the intersection, so the environmental impact would be large, and if we take some of those wetlands, we’d have to create comparable wetlands somewhere else to accommodate, so it’s not cost-effective either.”
This is not quite true. An OCRC representative stated the actual construction cost for the multi-lane configuration and a roundabout was about the same—$900,000.
The wetlands are an issue and would need to be mitigated. A local businessman owns property downstream from the intersection and told OCRC representatives he would donate land for the mitigation of the wetlands. This donation would allow a roundabout to be built at no additional cost to the project or the taxpayers.
The OCRC and Brandon Township officials know of the offer of free. Why is this offer being ignored? Acceptance of the offer would allow a roundabout to be built. Why are the township officials allowing a less than optimal intersection to be built?
Bryson stated the multi-lane project would make the intersection safer than the current configuration. Both use two stop signs at Hadley Road and none on Oakwood Road. With the current plan, speed will continue to be a factor in future accidents and result in deaths or serious injuries. In the past month, there have been two or more accidents at this intersection.
Roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Roundabouts have the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes due to lower speeds at the intersection.
Bryson stated, “roundabout is the best option. Most times a roundabout is more ideal, sometimes not possible.”
At this time, it is possible to build the safest intersection at Oakwood and Hadley Roads. Since the bids have not gone out yet, the OCRC can do the right thing and build the safest intersection.
Why is the OCRC not putting safety first and building a roundabout at Oakwood and Hadley Roads?
Bill Rathburg, Brandon Township

Road Commission Issues
(In response to Hadley-Oakwood intersection, road expansion, work set for summer, The Citizen Newspaper, Feb. 11, 2023, page 1.)
The article explains that while many citizens voiced their desire for a roundabout at the intersection of Oakwood and Hadley Roads, a roundabout is not possible because of environmental impact.
Craig Bryson, senior manager of communications for the Road Commission for Oakland County, is quoted “It’s not cost effective” and later goes on to say that “We can accomplish what we need to accomplish with a traditional intersection”. I say not true.
Once again, the Road Commission for Oakland County is turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the needs of our community.
This summer, the intersection will be closed for major construction. This will include replacing the culvert and extending the left turn lane on Oakwood Road from the elementary school through the Oakwood – Hadley intersection.
Extending the left turn lane will not solve the problem. In fact, it will likely complicate it. Currently, vehicles headed North or South on Hadley Road (either crossing or turning) must take risks in order to do so, especially at peak travel times.
The 55 mph speed limit on Oakwood brings vehicles racing from both directions. Often times, the only opportunity a Hadley Road driver has to turn is when a vehicle stops on Oakwood to make a left onto Hadley (thus blocking the traffic behind them).
Extending the Oakwood turn lane will keep both East and West lanes of flowing at 55 mph while also creating a line of cars waiting to turn North or South. This will create a bottleneck that is not unlike the intersection of Granger and M15, where Granger Road drivers intending to go south on M15 are prevented from doing so for extended periods of time.
Because RCOC doesn’t think safety at this intersection is worth the cost, the best and safest alternative to a roundabout SHOULD be either a four-way stop or a traffic light IN ADDITION to extending the left turn lane. Without a complete stop of Oakwood traffic, Hadley Road travelers will remain at risk.
Future accidents at this intersection will squarely be the result of RCOC and their tight purse strings. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
Andrea Austin, Ortonville

One Response to "Letters to the Editor March 4, 2023"

  1. Scott Batson   March 7, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    People using the road make mistakes (like speeding, running stop signs and red lights, turning left in front of oncoming traffic), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world – the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes – (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system – intersections. The reduction in speed to about 20 mph and sideswipe geometry mean that, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you might need a tow truck, but rarely an ambulance. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or FHWA for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts.

    The FHWA has been saying for over 20 years that signal intersections have TEN TIMES the fatality risk of modern roundabouts


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