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Tienken, Avon, Livernois Road Projects Part of 2013 Road Commission Budget

They are part of a $103 million budget the Road Commission for Oakland County will consider this week.

Three Rochester Hills projects are included in the 2013 budget for the Road Commission for Oakland County, which is set to be presented this week during a public hearing in Pontiac.

Here are the local projects that will be completed in 2013 if the budget is approved:

  • Tienken Road widening from Livernois to Sheldon roads: $13.4 million
  • Avon Road repair and resurface from Adams to Livernois: $4 million
  • Livernois Road from Long Lake in Troy to Avon Road, a simple asphalt resurfacing: $1.4 million

These are three of many county road projects in the $103.1 million proposed budget. The budget represents a $2.4 million increase from 2012 because of an anticipated increase in state-collected road funding dollars and because the RCOC plans to use about $4.4 million from its fund balance. Federal road funding revenue is expected to decrease from last year. 

“These continue to be very arduous times for road agencies in Michigan,” said RCOC Board Chairman Eric Wilson, noting that federal funding, which is generally tied to specific road construction projects and cannot be used for routine maintenance operations, tends to fluctuate considerably from year to year.

The budget hearing is planned for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac. The RCOC’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, so final adoption of the budget will take place in September.

For details on the budget, including other county road projects planned for next year, see this document on the RCOC web site

Marie August 20, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Least we forget the $250,000 grant for beautification of the park on the corner of LIvernois and Avon. Oh boy, more benches for a park on a busy, noisy intersection that few people actually ever use! The city, in general, is in need of mowing, weed control and street sweeping.
Rachele DiMeglio August 20, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Thanks, Scot, for your spot on comments regarding the Livernois project, particularly the roundabout. Not only is it unnecessary (traffic volume is only high for about 1 hr each evening), the main concern I have is also the safety of individuals as they attempt to cross it. There is a lot of pedestrian traffic in this area given the proxmity to the Paint Creek Trail - and without any type of lights or crosswalk signals - it will not be a safe space for pedestrians. This is especially true for folks looking to cross Tienken -- traffic driving west from Rochester Rd is difficult to see given the intersections location at the top of a hill. A completely unnecessary and more to the point - dangerous - undertaking!
David Gifford August 20, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Great points all. Bigger, wider, faster roads will lead to more accidents, lower property values, lower aesthetic value and overall a less walkable community. Next they might build those concrete sound walls along Tienkern. Scot does have a valid proposal for Tienken, one that we will probably never see. The corner of Tienken and Rochester belongs to Rochester Hills and not the city of Rochester so you can forget about it blending with the feel of downtown Rochester. The look and feel of Rochester Hills is of subdivisions and strip malls, some built to resemble towns. It is great that we are getting bridges and roads fixed but to continue to widen roads will turn Rochester Hills into Sterling Heights. Nothing against Sterling Heights but there is no congruent feel to a city of subdivisions that surround a mall.
Scot Beaton August 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
David... great comments -- why is no one listening?
Carolyn Smith August 21, 2012 at 01:01 AM
AMEN!!!!!!
Jennie August 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Please, can we simply ask that both the Avon and Livernois repaving NOT happen at the same time? I think the residents of the Avon/Livernois/Crooks area will agree with me that we have lived with enough construction difficulties already.
Paul Merlo August 21, 2012 at 01:45 PM
So can I expect to see any of you at the meeting this Thursday?
Daryl Patrishkoff August 21, 2012 at 02:37 PM
As a person that regularly drives this stretch of Tienken 2-3 times on a normal day, I look forward to these improvements. The road is naturally tree lined on both sides most of the way and the 3 lanes will make it much safer and efficient method to drive cross town without entering downtown Rochester. It will be an attractive road that moves traffic efficiently. Did we have such a controversy when Walton was improved to 5 lanes? Regarding roundabouts, I have driven them for years in Europe, on the east coast and now here. They are efficient ways to move traffic and are safe; people just need to learn how to use them. My wife first objected to these roundabouts when they started putting them in our area, now she is a huge fan. Progress means we need to make some of our roads more efficient and safe, I believe this project does that. I am looking forward to this getting completed in 2013.
David Gifford August 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
The report done in 2010 is very thorough looks at all options and impacts (all 58 pages worth) http://ww3.rochesterhills.org/TienkenRdImpProjEAFINAL.pdf . Daryl, the road is currently lined with trees but will not be when finished. In order to accommodate 3 lanes (41ft) and pedestrian paths on both sides the trees will be removed. $4,000,000 for right of way will be spent to buy and tear down 6 houses, one vacant parcel, one veterinary office and one medical office. This is because the peak of Tienken between Pine and Winry will get shaved down 8 feet to improve sight distance and make driveways too steep for those homes and businesses. Also a noise study was done and determined that several areas are above comfortable levels now but because of the driveways onto Tienken, a continuous sound wall cannot be built so there are no plans to reduce road noise. They will just have to deal with it. We do need a fast way around downtown but doing this will permanently alter the landscape and quality of life for those living in this corridor. I guess they will just have to deal with it.
Peter Griffin August 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Very good points David. One other point is the breaks in traffic that the subdivisions along Tienken need so drivers can exit their subdivision (sounds a bit repetative). With the circle of death installed at Tienken and Livernois, how are people supposed to exit Shadow Woods, Chichester, Brookwood, Fairview Farms, etc (subs btwn Brewester and Livernois)....where is their break in traffic coming from? The light at Brewester will be their only possible break, since the new "circle" will keep traffic flowing. It is also a shame that 6 homes will be destroyed to facilitate a project that is really not needed. What happens if the 6 homeowners are under water? The city pays market value for their homes and the homeowners make up the rest out of their own pocket?
Peter Griffin August 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Just because Europe does it does not make it better. Maybe we should be more like France? Just surrender when the going gets tough? I would much rather take the chance of 5 or 6 "collisions" a year at a conventional intersection than have 5 or 6 "paint exchanging side swipes" each week at a "roundabout".
Scot Beaton August 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
David & 4x4 driver -- thanks again for your comments. David thanks for posting the link to the final design plans for Tienken hwy. -- 50mph design speed. And David and 4x4 driver thanks for calling out Darly on his comments. Daryl has a tendency to type in the Rochester Patch on subjects he is not well versed in. Tienken -- history -- this road project is dates way back to Pat Somerville Mayor Rochester Hills -- was given a $10,000,000 gift -- an earmark from congress -- to make a 5 lane hwy. This project is all about paybacks to those in the road building business. She had two choices Dequindre or Tienken -- she picked Tienken because she lived on Dequindre. Daryl likes to write about senior citizens -- all those trees he refers to are coming down and he does not have a clue what the senior citizens are going through that live on the northeast corner of Livernois and Tienken -- the road commission going to take and tear down their house to build the roundabout -- I email back and forth with this couple all the time. P.S. 4x4 driver -- if you are underwater in that mortgage they don't care you're screwed.
Baylea August 21, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Chris, the sign cost closer to $100,000 with installation and engineering. $40,000 was just for the sign. FYI. Does it make you feel any better about our elected representatives?
Mike Luttenbrerger August 21, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Roundabouts are great....if you understand how to drive them. We were all scared to death when we began driver's training and now just drive. Look to the left and DON'T stop. The only valid, not emotional, comment is re the breaks in traffic for the subdivisions. Anyone (like Road Commission types) with real knowledge about this problem? And I remember a post about 4-5 years ago from someone in Clarkston who didn't want roadwork done. "If I wanted to have roads like Rochester Hills, I'd live there." Remember that Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township have over 100,000 residents and we all use Rochester Hills roads. We're not country anymore. One man's poison......
Peter Griffin August 22, 2012 at 01:27 AM
"Roundabouts are great....if you understand how to drive them. We were all scared to death when we began driver's training and now just drive. Look to the left and DON'T stop. " You have to stop if someone is in the circle in the lane you want to enter -- otherwise, you get rear ended when you enter the circle. Don't we have to yield to those already in the circle? The places where I see "accidents" (people not paying attention) happen are when someone enters the circle on an outside lane and someone in an inside lane is in the process of exiting at the next right. The person exiting crosses into through the outside lane when exiting and the person in the outside lane hits them. In a standard intersection, you wait til the light is green. Not hard. I see many "accidents" in the Vandyke/18 Mile circle. People are in too much of a hurry. A standard intersection works. Stop on red and go on green -- it's not hard. We don't need this huge circle that will throw people from their homes and take down some very large and impressive trees. I am not a tree hugger by any means, but we don't need to waste time and money on redoing an intersection that already works. Resurface and be done with it. We've had enough construction already! Scot -- I knew there was something about Sommerville that I didn't like. Nice to see her have the "not in my backyard" attitude.
doug August 22, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Its about character and home values. This project will further erode what differentiates Rochester hills from a typical Detroit suburb. If you want wide roads with strip malls, just keep supporting these projects as they come along. Kiss your home values goodbye. Commodity pricing won't bode well for our city. Think about how this will hit you directly and voice your opposition to the road commission. Enough pressure and potential lawsuits can stop this project. Nothing wrong with repaving a road or adding nice boulevards, but this will look awful. Do you really think Bloomfield or Plymouth would allow this.
Scot Beaton August 22, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Mike... I welcome your comments -- my concern with this type of project is -- First: public safety -- The Road Commission for Oakland County and our City continue to ignore pedestrian safety for the new proposed roundabout. Second: property values -- these plans do nothing to enhance property values -- quite the opposite. Mike... This 13.5 million federal gift -- personally I welcome any and all infrastructure improvements for our area -- I'm just disappointed at the way these precious tax dollars are being spent. Our Road Commission's road designs are still stuck in the 20th century and they have shown no interest in building 21st century designs. The only good that is going to come out of this road improvement is Macomb County commuter traffic might get back and forth to their jobs in Oakland County 10 minutes faster. 10 minutes faster at the expense of our children safety and our City's home values.
Scot Beaton August 22, 2012 at 02:13 AM
doug... great comments -- progressive communities like Bloomfield or Plymouth -- I would agree with you -- they would say NO!
Daryl Patrishkoff August 22, 2012 at 02:23 AM
4x4, So if we put in roundabouts we are now France and surrender. Pretty funny, I do not understand the tie. Roundabouts are expanding and they are the changes we are applying to our road system, they show efficiencies in traffic movement. We just need to learn how to use them properly just like the light changes we have seen in recent years. Change happens.
Daryl Patrishkoff August 22, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Scot, Again since we disagree you want to discredit me. Get over it, we just disagree and accept it without taking cheap shots. I do not degrade you if we disagree, I accept it. Do you ever get tired of this discredit and distract approach? How about a real conversation and accepting that people might have a different opinion than you. I drive Tienken often and look forward to these improvements, it will be safer and more efficient, but that is my opinion.
Scot Beaton August 22, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Daryl... “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
N. C. August 22, 2012 at 07:10 AM
WOW! Interesting read!! http://rochester.patch.com/blog_posts/lets-propose-a-new-tienken-parkway Thanks, Scot, for your efforts and insights!!
Chris August 22, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Baylea, that makes me sick! They should have taken that money and contracted it out to a hometown lawn service or hire some employees to do it. Their solution is, to make everything concrete.
Chris August 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Have you ever seen anyone try to cross the road in a roundabout? I haven't. I think it would end in a 5 car pileup. I believe they work in major congested roads or big cities, but we live in a state where people can't even get the left turn signal right and we're going to implement these everywhere? Our biggest traffic roads are running N & S, not E & W. So let's just resurface.
Scot Beaton August 22, 2012 at 02:45 PM
N. C. -- thanks Yes... this project really makes me very sad... most of the time a different idea would be more expensive... but if we lowered the design speed by only 10mph we would not have to condemn all the property -- and then put the money into building a beautiful boulevard instead. I also think a roundabout has Its place in the design of roads just not at that particular corner -- there is not enough north south traffic to warrant one -- Livernois turns to dirt north of Tienken and there are no plans to pave the road. -- or is there something going on we don't know about? --
Geraldine Lee August 22, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Appartently the project isn't affecting your property
Peter Griffin August 22, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The report, that David provided the link to, showed that none of the crashes at Livernois and Teinken were fatal over the 3 year period that data was collected --- so how does safety factor in for the "need" of a roundabout there? Looks like the case for a roundabout is really someone's pet project???? Maybe????
Scot Beaton August 22, 2012 at 05:07 PM
4x4 driver... Tienken... more history -- original plan was a 5 lane highway -- two factors the real estate crash has ended for now urban sprawl; reduced the need for 5 lanes -- and a large group of residents formed 'friends of Tienken rd.' and convinced the Road Commission to narrow down the size of the road to 3 lanes. There was never a roundabout planed in the original plan -- but because the reduced cost of the project to go from 5 lanes to 3 lanes would jeopardize the federal earmark -- 'if you don't use all the money you lose all the money' -- that's just the way the feds works -- the Road Commission had to come up with expense fast -- hence the roundabout.
David Gifford August 22, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Is city planning dead? Will mankind ever learn from the mistakes of the past? Look at the history of southeast Michigan. Cities were platted and planned then let run wild. When Woodward laid out his original plan for Detroit he called for wide boulevards and was laughed at. They weren't laughing in the 20's when homes and businesses were demolished to make way for the widening of the road from Grand Circus to Pontiac. The churches on Woodward near Comerica Park were chopped in the middle and the steeples moved back. When Grand Boulevard was laid out, Detroit citizens thought it was absurd to build such a large road so far away from downtown Detroit. That road is 8 lanes wide at some points with much abandonment along it. As the population exploded larger north/south and east/west roads were needed to get around. The highways uprooted whole communities, destroying much of the neighborhood fabric of Detroit. From south to north: Grand Boulevard, Davison Freeway, 8 Mile, 696, 16 Mile, Hall Road to 23 Mile Road each was built up to ease congestion, each too small already by the time they opened. Will 26 Mile through Tienken be next? The car has enabled us to work far from where we live, but is destroying the areas where we live. While most of southeast Michigan is not ready to accept better design alternatives yet, but we can at least stop repeating the cycle and seek better alternatives to widening roads and destroying communities.
Mike Luttenbrerger August 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM
OK, not enough of an original comment. Just like entering an expressway, you don't begin the procedure at the bottom of the ramp, you begin as you approach it. You have to start the traffic circle well before (that's the slow down part.) I do agree that I don't see how to fit a traffic circle into the geography of Tienken and Livernois. Doesn't seem to be enough room and a too small traffic circle (see Tienken and Sheldon) is just a pass-through.

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