If your regular commute is on U-S 23 north of Ann Arbor back-ups are likely the norm. The Michigan Department of Transportation continues to work on plans to ease the congestion.
That congestion comes from over 60,000 cars a day using U-S 23 between M-14 and I-96. The estimated cost for adding a lane in both directions just from M-14 to M-36 is $175 million. So MDOT officials are looking for alternatives. The current proposal calls for widening the shoulders and allowing drivers to use them during peak rush hour times. University Region Engineer Paul Adjeba says this plan will cost less than $50 million.
Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority officials have asked MDOT to dedicate the extra lane for buses and high occupancy vehicles. Adjeba cautions that without enforcement there's low compliance in lanes requiring a passenger in addition to the driver. "In Michigan we don't have camera enforcement law, and the complication about that is also the infrastructure is not in place at the state police or sheriff to handle that," Adjeba says.
Adjeba hopes AAATA will agree to operate service from a park and ride lot around Eight Mile to further reduce congestion. The transit authority has no timeline to respond to the park and ride proposal.It's in their long term planning, but no funding source has been identified.
MDOT continues to work with stakeholders on the shoulder widening plan with the goal of starting construction in 2016 or 2017.