construction barrel road work

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Fouts Calls On Gov. Snyder To Declare State Of Emergency In Warren

September 18, 2018 - 7:09 pm

WARREN (WWJ) - A lockout stemming from a labor dispute has curtailed a massive road construction project and one local mayor is asking the governor to intervene.  

Traffic accidents are up over 25 percent, there are a growing number of complaints from residents as drivers find alternative routes to avoid construction, often through residential areas, there's the increased response time for emergency vehicles --  in decent weather -- add snow and ice to the mix and you've got "a travel nightmare" according to Warren Mayor Jim Fouts. 

"Right now 12 Mile and 10 Mile, which are main roads going east and west, are jammed packed, they are like parking lots, our emergency EMS can hardly get through, our police can hardly get through," Fouts tells WWJ. 

"So, we are in an emergency situation and I'm concerned that this strike is going to last so long that we are not going to be able to complete construction on a number of streets in Warren including Ryan (road) and most importantly we're going to have a 250,000 - 300,000 people driving on 696 that are not going to be able to conduct business, are not going to be able to go back and forth."

He says beyond the politicians saying "fix the damn roads," you've got to 'fix the damn lockout' between the union and the engineering manufacturing group ... you've got two people that are impeding progress and are creating a potential em situ in the city of Warren." 

He wants the governor to resolve the issue between the sides. 

The governor is not taking action. He has passed the issue on to the Michigan attorney general and it remains to be seen if action will be taken at that level.  

Fouts says strong leadership is needed.

"We may not be another Flint, but we could have some serious emergency situation that takes place,"says Fouts. 

This strike needs to be settled he says. 

Fouts sent the letter below, adding he has not called, the governor "he's difficult to get through, but I'm hoping he reads this."

The letter to Snyder from Fouts below:

Dear Governor Snyder:

As the mayor of Michigan's third largest city in population and the city most affected by

any delays in the improvement of eastbound and westbound 1-696 between 1-94 and I- 

75, I am requesting that you declare a state of emergency to stop the delay of I- 

696 in Warren. 

This request is based on facts of Warren's fire commissioner and police commissioner 

that the public safety of our residents is endangered because of traffic congestion on 

our eastbound and westbound main roads.

Below is a report from Bill Dwyer, Warren police commissioner:

   This morning I met with representatives from patrol, traffic, dispatch and the 

   traffic engineer to discuss the impact of the 1-696 construction on police 

   operations. All of the issues arise from the obvious increase in traffic on Warren

   roads. The average daily volume of traffic on 1-696 prior to construction was 

   150,000 vehicles daily. These vehicles are now finding alternate east/west 

   routes on Warren surface streets.

Traffic Issues:

 1. Extreme traffic back up on 11 Mile Service Drive, 12, 13, and 14 mile roads. 

   22,000 vehicles going to GM Tech Center, 8,000 to TACOM.

 2. Increased traffic through neighborhoods as people seek routes away from 

   backed-up mile roads. This has caused a sharp increase in citizen complaints of 

   speeding in neighborhoods. This is an ongoing problem in the residential areas 

   between 11 Mile and 12 Mile.

 3. Slower response time. For priority runs, officers must navigate greatly 

   increased traffic with emergency lights on and east/west travel is limited 

   due to not being able to use 1-696. For non priority runs, officers are slowed 

   due to being stuck in traffic like everyone else.

 4. Increased accidents. Accidents during the last four months have increased 27% 

   over the previous year. 2017 — 1507 accidents, 2018 — 1916 accidents.
 5. Traffic bureau seeing greatly increased number of complaints. Traffic Bureau 
   working with MDOT to solve issues as they arise.

Below is a report from Skip McAdams, Warren fire commissioner:

   1. In order for emergency vehicles to gain access to 1-696 for an emergency 
    response we must drive in the opposite direction of the service drive and 
    down the four (4) open exit ramps in (11 Mile, Van Dyke, Hoover and 
    Groesbeck) the opposite direction and then proceed in the opposite direction 
    of traffic or make a U-turn to go in the direction of traffic to respond to 
    emergency incident.
   2. The Mound Road reconstruction from 1-696 to M-59 is scheduled to begin in 
    2019 meaning traffic will need to shift to Van Dyke and other major N/S 
    thoroughfares increasing traffic on these already overcrowded main roads 
    through Warren.
   3. The 1-75 rebuild from Bloomfield Twp. to 8 Mile Road is slated to begin in 
    2019. This major reconstruction project will also cause traffic to shift to other 
    north/south major thoroughfares, including Van Dyke, as travelers seek to 
    avoid the road construction.
   4. GM Tech Center has approximately 22,000 employees who must get to work 
    with that number increasing to 25,000 in the near future how will these people 
    get to and from work if 1-696, 1-75 and Mound road all have major 
    reconstruction projects occurring at the same time? Additionally, there are 
    multiple other large manufacturing facilities located along Mound Road which 
    will also be negatively impacted by the delays, as well as future construction 
   5. County and local road projects further complicate the flow of traffic in the City 
    of Warren and, when combined with neighboring communities road projects, 
    will further complicate and compound traffic congestion in and around the City 
    of Warren and Southeast Michigan as a region.
   6. Accidents on alternative routes caused by additional traffic adversely 
    impact the flow of traffic and adds to first responders inability to 
    respond to emergency incidents inclusive of the incidents on the major 
    and local thoroughfares that are being used as alternative routes for 
    routes under construction.
   7. Winter weather including snow and ice storms can turn a normal commute 
    into an adventure that has the potential to turn a 1 hour commute into a travel 
    nightmare lasting several hours.
   8. Economic investment by companies may be postponed or canceled as 
    investors ask the question of how will my workforce and customers access 
    my property when prolonged road construction has altered the normal flow of 
    traffic to my existing or proposed business location.
   In summary although, road construction is a necessary and vital evil that we must 
   accommodate to ensure economic well-being of communities today and 
   tomorrow, delays in the completion of these projects adversely impacts existing 
   businesses and hampers proposed development in locations in and near major 
   road construction projects. Additionally, emergency responders ability to 
   navigate to locations in and near road construction projects using roads that are
   burdened with the additional traffic caused by prolonged road construction 
   projects including 1-696 hamper our ability to provide a timely response. We 
   must be able to respond in a timely manner to the 18,000 emergencies 
   occurring annually in the city of Warren where response time is measured 
   in minutes and seconds. Other considerations include as commuters adjust to 
   unfamiliar routes they add additional traffic to alternative routes which increases 
   incidents of road rage, speeding and aggressive driving, as commuters attempt 
   to stay on schedule in there commutes to work, shopping and leisure activities. 
   Additionally, winter weather can further complicate travel times through and in
   the city of Warren as commuters shy away from business located on or near road 
   construction projects negatively impacting businesses in these areas and the city 
   as a whole. Now the workforce and customers will get to a business is a
   question every investor must ask when deciding where to invest their finite 
   capital resources. Additionally, the quality of life of residents who must navigate 
   around traffic that has shifted to roads not normally used by commuters further 
   negatively impacts the quality of life for all residents in our city. Finally,
   catastrophic unforeseen events that can cause a major thoroughfare to be closed 
   for an extended period of time, including trucks striking bridges, tanker fires, etc 
   occur on an infrequent but regular basis further stressing a traffic network that 
   can ill afford the delays of road projects not being completed in a timely manor as 
   promised. Many businesses in Warren and Southeast Michigan have not fully 
   recovered from the "Great Recession" and do not have the depth of resources to
   sustain the loss of business caused by prolonged road construction projects.

Clearly, we have a serious public safety problem in Warren due to delays in 1-696 
construction. It is critical to note that, if 1-696 construction is delayed by winter, the 
problems in Warren will be magnified and public safety will be even more endangered.

Clearly, these reports prove beyond any doubt that traffic congestion in Warren merits a 
state of emergency declaration so immediate remedial action can be taken.


Warren Mayor Jim Fouts