Traffic Jam

If Michigan’s paved roads were reconfigured to a single outbound lane toward outer space, the pavement would stretch to the moon. That state department of transportation statistic sounds almost reasonable when you consider that Michiganians collectively log enough miles to traverse that lunar distance more than 500 times a day.

Although this region’s travel volumes have shown a steady decrease over the last seven years, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) says there are some areas — particularly in Oakland County — that remain heavily traveled. SEMCOG projects 176 bottlenecks and 485 miles of congested roadway in Oakland County by 2030. Wayne County ranks second in the region, with 118 projected bottlenecks and 331 congested road miles.

“We still have the morning and evening traffic coming downtown [and back] on Woodward, I-75, I-94, the Jeffries; that traffic hasn’t grown,” says Carmine Palombo, SEMCOG’s director of transportation programs. “The growth in traffic really has been the suburb-to-suburb traffic: The east-west traffic between Macomb and Oakland, Macomb and Wayne, Washtenaw and Wayne. And that’s why you have a lot of [volume] on roads that weren’t initially built to handle that kind of traffic.”

Adding a good-news/bad-news point, Palombo says this could be the first year in recent times in which traffic levels have increased, something that might “be attributed to the fact that commercial traffic is up, which would suggest that maybe we’ve bottomed out in terms of the economy.” He adds that lower gas prices have had an effect, as well.

But congestion is more than an aggravation and a time suck that routinely causes employees to report late for work; it’s also dangerous.

Because of their impact on our lives, traffic conditions — like weather reports — are of perpetual interest. Following is a list of the top-10 most accident-prone intersections and stretches of road in Southeast Michigan, which also happen to be some of the most congested. (Tip: When possible, take a detour around 11 Mile, 12 Mile, and Ford roads).

Most Accident-Prone Intersections in Southeast Michigan

1. 11 Mile Road at Southfield (Oakland County)
2. Ford Road at Haggerty (Wayne County)
3. 12 Mile Road at Telegraph (Oakland County)
4. 12 Mile Road at Orchard Lake Road (Oakland County)
5. 11 Mile Road at Van Dyke (Macomb County)
6. 12 Mile Road at Dequindre (Oakland/Macomb counties)
7. Ford Road at North Wayne Road (Wayne County)
8. West Maple Road at Orchard Lake Road (Oakland County)
9. University Drive at Woodward Avenue (Oakland County)
10. Ford Road at North Newburgh Road (Wayne County)

Most Accident-Prone Stretches of Road in Southeast Michigan

1. Ford Road from Lilley to Haggerty (Wayne County)
2. Rochester Road from Auburn to Hamlin (Oakland County)
3. Warren Avenue from M-39 (Southfield) to Greenfield (Wayne County)
4. Orchard Lake Road from Northwestern Highway to Maple (Oakland County)
5. Telegraph Road from Custer to Stewart (Monroe County)
6. Dequindre Road from 11 Mile to 12 Mile (Oakland/ Macomb counties)
7. Hayes Road from 19 Mile to Hall Road (Macomb County)
8. Highland Road from Airport Road to Crescent Lake Drive (Oakland County)
9. Washtenaw Avenue from Hogback Road to Golfside Drive (Washtenaw County)
10. Rochester Road from Big Beaver to Wattles (Oakland County)

Source: SEMCOG

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