Problems, COVID, delay Maple construction
The long-scheduled Maple Road reconstruction project which was tentatively slated to be complete for a reopening of the road around Labor Day, then mid to late September, is now expected to be complete in late October due to unexpected construction challenges and an outbreak of COVID-19 amongst the road crew. Maple Road between Chester and Woodward has been under reconstruction since late-April. The city of Birmingham said that while they are pleased with the progress made, which is over 80 percent complete, unfortunately crews encountered unexpected challenges during recent underground work. That has led to a change in the timeline, with the construction company releasing their latest estimate, to open in three phases. Maple Road will open between Old Woodward and Woodward in mid-October; Maple Road between Pierce and Chester roads will reopen in late October; and Maple Road between Southfield and Chester will reopen in late October. As with many construction projects, the city said on Tuesday, September 22, “crews encountered unexpected challenges during intricate underground work. Some of these and other challenges include: water main and sanitary sewer conflicts, water main breaks, unexpected Bates Street curb realignment, and a COVID-19 outbreak among the construction crew in recent weeks.” The road construction project, a joint effort between the city of Birmingham and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), is reconstructing Maple Road between Chester and Woodward roads, along with planned improvements at the Southfield and Maple intersection. In addition to replacing the underlying concrete pavement and asphalt overlay, work includes the replacement of water and sewer, the replacement of traffic signals with mast arms at three intersections, new fiber optic conduit system, city-owned electrical system and new landscaping with irrigation. Similar to the Old Woodward reconstruction project in 2018, the Maple Road reconstruction project is driven by the need to replace existing water mains and sewer lines, some of which date back 100 years. Key elements include new underground infrastructure, new streetlights, new irrigation system, improved landscaping and on-street parking, granite bench seating and cell phone charging stations, improved ADA parking and access, a new mid-block crossing for increased pedestrian safety, and the realignment of Southfield Road at Maple to reduce sharp turns and lessen congestion in the area.