One of the most technologically advanced roadways in the U.S. opens on time and on budget
MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Officials from Macomb County, the Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the cities of Sterling Heights and Warren – joined by government, business and community leaders – celebrated the opening of the transformational $220 million Innovate Mound project.
The multi-year project, which broke ground in August of 2021, reconstructed approximately nine miles of the Mound Road corridor between I-696 and M-59 with work phased over four construction seasons – opening on time and on budget. The new Mound Road will strengthen the region and enhance connectivity by incorporating state-of-the-art design and smart technology to create a modern corridor that will serve all users.
“We’ve reached an important milestone and the success of Innovate Mound showcases what can be accomplished when multiple levels of government work together to improve our community,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “The magnitude and impact of the Mound Road corridor is unlike any other local project in the U.S. Macomb County, along with our project partners, have made a significant investment in Mound Road and the future of the region.”
The Innovate Mound project includes new pavement, drainage, curbs and driveways, traffic signal optimization, roadway widening north of 17 Mile Road, connected vehicle and fiber optic communications technology, enhanced non-motorized facilities, and energy-efficient lighting.
“As part of Innovate Mound, innovative technology and high-performance pavement will deliver a safe and smooth traveling experience for all road users,” said MCDR Director Bryan Santo. “We’ve built a high-quality, long-lasting roadway that will support a modern, efficient, and reliable corridor that will serve Macomb County for decades to come.”
The project includes new capabilities that will create a corridor that is forward flexible to the evolving transportation and technology needs of the future, allowing Mound Road to be used as a test bed corridor for new and emerging mobility services. Signal modernization at intersections and crossovers and connected vehicle (CV) roadside units (RSU) are being upgraded to support cellular communication technologies that will support corridor specific CV applications, including:
- Signal phase and timing (SPaT)
- Speed harmonization
- Wrong way detection
- Queue detection
- Pavement quality detection
- Weather responsive service
- Signal preemption and priority
Another key innovation on Mound Road is the development of a hybrid, wireline and wireless, communications network which includes MCDR’s traffic signals, traffic cameras, and intelligent transportation system (ITS) infrastructure to communicate and relay data directly to MCDR’s Traffic Operations Center (TOC) and Macomb County’s Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC).
An additional use of advance road technology are five Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) sites along the corridor that will support seasonal maintenance needs and weather impacts throughout the year by providing real-time data to MCDR including:
- Air temperature and relative humidity
- Wind speed and direction
- Barometric pressure
- Sub-surface temperature probes
- Pavement conditions
Benefits of the project, include:
- Smoother roads for safer and more reliable transportation and commuting.
- A user-friendly corridor that is safer for motorized vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.
- Reduced congestion from improved design and smart technologies such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), traffic signals and signs, connected vehicles pilot projects, and real-time traffic speed monitoring.
- Enhanced aesthetic features such as landscaping and unified placemaking that will positively impact surrounding communities and improve the overall user experience.
“Celebrating the grand opening of Mound Road, Innovate Mound delivers on its promise, reshaping our infrastructure into a model of progress,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “This transformation uplifts businesses, fostering a thriving commercial environment. We've ensured to connect our community not only by roadways but also through accessible pathways, cultivating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere for all.”
In 2016, more than 100 business and community leaders came together to support a long-term solution for Mound Road and build a next-generation corridor of innovation. A federal grant application was submitted in 2017, a collaborative effort spearheaded by leaders from the state, county, local governments, and businesses. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) selected the joint application by Macomb County and the cities of Sterling Heights and Warren for a $98 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant that is funded by Congress.
“I'm thrilled to see the City of Warren as part of this amazing initiative. The Innovate Mound project shows how powerful and beneficial collaboration with other people and cities is,” said Warren Mayor Lori M. Stone. “The cutting-edge technology we have access to now puts us ahead of the curve and saves lives, which is priceless.”
While paving operations are complete and the road is open to traffic, there will be additional lane closures to complete some remaining work on Mound Road during the winter and spring.
Remaining work taking place this winter includes:
- Bear Creek box culvert construction
- Utility relocation
- Traffic signal mast arm installation
- Installation of lighting within the median by DTE Energy
Remaining work anticipated to take place this spring includes:
- Construction of the 8-foot-wide path between 15 Mile Road and 18 Mile Road
- Installation of permanent pavement markings
- Median landscaping work
- Equipment installation and testing of the intelligent transportation system (ITS) network
While the first segment of Mound Road between I-696 and M-59 is nearly complete, MCDR is conducting preliminary engineering, exploring funding and grant opportunities, and has met with community stakeholders to prepare for the future reconstruction of the second segment of the Mound Road corridor from 8 Mile Road to I-696 in Warren. Due to the work required on Mound Road between 8 Mile Road and I-696, the project is not economically feasible with county and local community funds alone.
To fund reconstruction of the second segment of the corridor, Macomb County, Warren, and community stakeholders are pursuing federal funding through the U.S. DOT’s Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant (MPDG) program. The grant application was submitted in August of 2023 and officials are hopeful for a successful grant application for segment two of Mound Road.
For the latest project news, information, and construction details, please visit innovatemound.org.