By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Ortonville — For the next two months, southbound M-15 from Granger Road to the south entrance of Brandon Middle School will be closed. The recent construction, conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has drawn ire from many residents.
“The reason we didn’t do it over the summer, there are a few reasons,” said Mark Koskinen, project coordinator. “The time it takes to get a box is long, we’re seeing that everywhere, and we had to wait for utilities to be moved before we could start road work.”
The work itself is to replace the culvert under M-15 for Duck Creek, which put another delay into the mix.
“We cannot work in the river from March 1 to July 1 because of the fish in the river and the restrictions from the department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy,” he said.
Koskinen also said that the shoulder of the road has failed multiple times, and it was only a matter of time before the roadway failed as well if the construction was not handled.
“If it failed in the roadway, it would be a total closure of the road,” he said. “It would take about six months to get a box, and it would be an emergency closure. We didn’t want it to become dangerous.”
The project is projected to last 60 days, with an end date around Nov. 18. Northbound traffic will be remained the whole time, and all the businesses remain open. The detour for southbound traffic is Oakwood Road to Baldwin Road to Seymour Lake Road and back to M-15.
In the meantime, it is important for drivers to pay attention to both temporary and permanent road signs to maintain safe driving and traffic.
“Yes, this is going to be a headache for a minimum of 60 days,” said Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Brandon substation commander Lt. Greg Glover. “There is no southbound M-15 traffic south of Granger.”
Drivers can still turn left onto Granger Road, but the M-DOT Detour is Oakwood Road. Drivers have been ticketed turning left onto South Street illegally.
“You cannot make an illegal left-hand turn onto South Street, and the driveways down there are not turnarounds,” he said. “Come northbound for any of the businesses, you cannot disregard road closed signs and barriers.”
Glover said the sheriff’s office will be out monitoring traffic and speeders on M-15 and some of the side streets that have seen an increase of traffic trying to get around the construction.
Many local businesses are also letting patrons know that they are open during the construction, including the businesses on and off of M-15.
“The last couple of months of bridge and now M-15 road construction have had an impact on area commerce, hurting our local businesses,” said Ortonville Downtown Development Authority Director Matt Jenkins.
With downtown events and the northbound traffic still being maintained, there are plenty of opportunities to support local businesses during the construction.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of the local economy, even during road construction,” he said. “It may take us a few more minutes to get around the area or downtown right ow, but you can show your support and take a detour downtown and to businesses on M-15 to shop local during the road construction.”
By Shelby Stewart-Soldan