Construction on US-127 ramping up

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The Michigan Department of Transportation recently requested to modify Trowbridge Road as a part of U.S. 127 improvements for traffic safety.

“This work is part of a $205 million project funded by the Governor’s Rebuilding Michigan Program that will address safety and operations of the I-496/U.S.127 corridor,” said Erin Chelotti, the MDOT Lansing Transportation Service Central Manager.

The Rebuilding Michigan Program set out to be a collection of construction projects to rebuild and modify the most used roads.

“The work within the city of East Lansing’s right-of-way is required to connect the new I-496 WB/ U.S.127 north bound exit ramp to Trowbridge Road,” Chelotti said.

Due to Trowbridge road’s exit ramps superstructure rating, MDOT wants to update the infrastructure of the bridge. Chelotti, said that the supports are at risk. 

“Recognizing the severity of these distresses, the department has installed temporary supports in multiple locations at this structure. This bridge needs to be replaced with the current I-496/U.S.-127 project to ensure the safety of the motoring public,” Chelotti said.

It was approved by the East Lansing City Council in a three to two vote with the conditions of a traffic light at the intersection of Arbor Drive and Trowbridge Road and the city would install a two-way light at the corner of Trowbridge crossing.

According to the regulations of the Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD), it was evaluated that there was no need for the traffic light instillation. MMUTCD said it was due to the existing traffic flow at the site.

“It would require a discussion; it would be contested due to the impact to the ramp. So, we look at the cost of this ramp, I’m guessing about $20 million, so they’re not gonna reconfigure that,” said David Harrison, the Project Administrator.

Going over the ELPD records of cases that are traffic related cases are 24% greater than other cases in East Lansing.

With the exit in question being ranked No. 7 for crashes by intersection. Ensuring safety was on the agenda when approving the proposal especially when the new ramp proposed speed limit of 45 mph.

“The reality is when you design a road you build in an assumption that the design speed is not necessarily going to be the speed at which the public travels… And you make an assumption that that’s what the perfect driver does in that situation,” Mayor George Brookover said in response to speed shift doubts.

In 2024, so far, there is more traffic related cases then other cases in East Lansing. According to the East Lansing Police Department reports there are 24% more traffic cases than cases not relating to traffic.

The project is slated to be done late 2025 and will improve safety and to reduce the number of crashes.

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