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July 5, 2009
The Road Commission for Oakland County expects to close Drake Road at both the north and south sides of the Maple/Drake roundabout in West Bloomfield on July 13 so the roundabout can be modified slightly to accommodate special new pedestrian crosswalk signals.
Work on the project is expected to start July 6, but work prior to July 13 should not affect traffic.
Drake is then expected to remain closed at the roundabout until approximately Aug. 14. During the closure, the detour route for Drake traffic will be 14 Mile Road to Farmington Road to Walnut Lake Road and back to Drake and vice versa.
The work will involve reconfiguring the “splitter” islands — the islands separating the entrances and exits to the roundabout — as well as adjusting some of the roundabout curbs and installing the crosswalk signals.
The signals, known as High-intensity Activated crosswalk (HAWK) signals are a new form of pedestrian-activated signals, and will be placed at all four entrances to the roundabout. The signals will stop traffic entering and exiting the roundabout to allow pedestrians to safely cross the road.
Unlike traditional pedestrian-crosswalk signals, the HAWK signals will remain unlit unless a pedestrian presses the crosswalk button. At that point, there will be a flashing yellow light for motorists, followed by a steady yellow light, warning motorists the signal is about to turn red.
The signal will then switch to a steady red to stop traffic and allow the pedestrian to cross the road. Finally, at the end of the cycle, the signal will switch to a flashing red light, signaling the end of the crossing phase. The signal will then go dark until it is again activated by a pedestrian pushing the button.
The HAWK signal looks different than a traditional traffic signal: It consists of three bulbs, but configured with two bulbs next to each other on top of the third bulb.
RCOC believes the installation of the HAWK signals at the Maple/Drake roundabout represents one of the first applications of a HAWK signal at a roundabout in the nation. The signal will be tested for one year at this roundabout.
The work to reconfigure the Maple/Drake roundabout will be conducted by Cadillac Asphalt, of Canton Township, at a cost of $795,000. RCOC is funding approximately $600,000 with developers paying for the rest.
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