Officials with the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) and Orion Township as well as Oakland County Executive David Coulter and other state and federal officials today cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the completion of a multi-year $55 million widening project on Baldwin Road.
The project involved the widening of approximately two-miles of Baldwin Road between Morgan and Waldon roads, just north of I-75 in Orion Township. The road was widened from two lanes to a combination of four-lane boulevard and five-lane road, including the construction of five roundabouts at intersections within the project.
“This is one of the most significant projects we have completed in some time,” stated RCOC Chair Andrea LaLonde. “This section of Baldwin was previously very congested, which hurt area businesses and made it difficult for area residents to travel to and from their homes. Now, the traffic flows much better, the road is much safer, and it looks much more attractive.”
“This project has been a true labor of love, but now that it is complete, we can reflect on the magnitude and importance of this project to our community,” Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett stated. “Simply put, it’s a game-changer! Our residents and businesses have been extremely patient during this project, but now I am confident that they will reap the benefits of our new state-of-the-art corridor for decades to come. Thank you to the Orion Township Board, the Corridor Improvement Authority, and our residents and businesses for your support to see this vision to completion.”
In additional to widening and completely reconstructing the road, the project involved extensive aesthetic enhancements, including numerous pocket parks, landscaped plazas, extensive landscaping throughout the project, retaining walls, decorative street lighting and signs and pedestrian pathways.
“This project addressed one of the more congested two-lane roads in Oakland County,” stated RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “It introduced the latest safety and traffic management elements while creating a walkable district. This is the one of the most significant transformations of a road we have undertaken in many years.”
Kolar also thanked area residents and businesses for their patience during the construction of the project. “We realize that the community experienced inconveniences during the construction phase, and we thank them for their patience,” he stated. “I think that the long-term benefits of this project will outweigh the inconvenience experienced while we worked on the project.”
Kolar added that the project is expected to have significant economic impacts on the community for years to come. “The real estate along this corridor is now much more valuable because it is much more accessible,” Kolar said. “That is beneficial both for the immediate community and for the county as a whole.”
The project was paid for with a mixture of federal, state and local dollars, including more than $5 million in federal road funding, $38 million in Michigan Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) dollars (a combination of state and federal dollars) as well as contributions from Orion Township and RCOC.
All the landscaping and pathway costs were covered by Orion Township.
The design for the project was identified through an extensive, multi-year public-involvement process outlined by the federal government and known as an “environmental assessment,” which took into account the needs of all current and anticipated future road users, residents, businesses and other community stakeholders.
The contractor for the project was Dan’s Excavating of Shelby Twp.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The attached photo shows county and local officials cutting the ribbon today to officially mark the completion of the project. Included are RCOC Board Chair Andrea LaLonde (fourth from right), Oakland County Executive David Coulter (sixth from right), Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett (seventh from right) and RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar (third from left).