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Dexter Village Council Approves Two-Way Traffic on Central Street During Reconstruction Project

Reconstruction of Central Street from the Mast Road Bridge to Second Street could last through Labor Day.

The third time's a charm for the Dexter Village Council, which voted on Monday to allow two-way traffic flow through part of its planned Central Street rehabilitation project.

The vote came after residents and business owners alike expressed frustration with a posted . The detour closed southbound traffic between Huron River Drive and Second Street, forcing southbound motorists to be detoured east along Joy Road, then south on Zeeb Road before following Dexter-Ann Arbor Road west into the village limits.

"This is going to cause nothing but a major fiasco for our residents that go to work in the morning and come home at night. We can't get into town if you maintain the one-way system," resident Neil Ehnis said. "You are shutting the village off to thousands of people."

Bob Schaeffer, who owns the , located at the intersection of Huron River Drive and Central Street, said he felt there was a lack of communication from the council prior to the start of the project, which began on Monday.

"The current plan cuts me off of 50 to 60 percent of my clientele," he said. "If we can't do this project properly to help the businesses on both sides of Central Street, the project should have been postponed," he said.

John Cares, owner of the , agreed, telling the council he lost 50 percent of his business in one day.

"I can't survive for eight more weeks," he said.

Originally, , with a single lane and temporary traffic signals at Third and Central streets. Permit issues with the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Corporation prevented the installation and use of the signal, however, according to Courtney Nicholls, assistant village manager.

"How the red lights ever got installed without the railroad's permission I will never understand. If you are going to put up a red light that regulates traffic across a railroad that's a federal thoroughfare, you should have had their permission," Ehnis said. "This council should all be ashamed of bearing the expense of installing a light that can't be used."

In response to the complaints, Trustee Paul Cousins proposed the council reopen Central Street to two-way traffic with the use of construction crews directing vehicles through the construction site at an additional cost of $30,000. In addition, the council requested that road blocks be removed at night and on weekends to allow traffic to flow through the area.

The motion was approved 6-1, with Trustee Joe Semifero voting against it.

"I want to apologize to our neighbors on Central Street," trustee Ray Tell said. "I was in such a hurry to get this project started that it completely slipped my mind about our constituents concerns. I was so incensed with the lack of communication with the railroad that I failed to look further than my own time line."

The project is expected to be substantially completed before Labor Day weekend.

In other action:

  • The council voted 7-0 to extend its existing moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries through July 18, 2014.
JeepinKev July 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM
An 8 mile detour for a 1/4 mile of construction...priceless!
Dexter resident July 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Do the Village taxpayers bear the cost of the extra $30K? Road and infrastructure maintenance can't be put off indefinitely. The same people complaining about the closure would be complaining about the crumbling roads.
Bill July 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
The puny little village of Dexter MI is so hungry they shut off parts of roads at least 5 times during each summer yet is is never a complete shut down around town. Notice how the traffic always flows thru the main business section one way or another ? I mean I am just making a point . How does the DDA leverage so much power to inconvience so many and they even get the sheriff Overtime to do so!
Bill July 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Yea good point, Who pays for this????
Another Jennifer July 11, 2012 at 03:21 PM
When will 2-way traffic happen??? As of 7 pm last night, (Tuesday), it was still northbound only. It's a pain for those who have to get into the village because we work in the village.
Daniel Lai July 11, 2012 at 05:28 PM
As of the meeting Monday night, council said they would have to talk with the contractor to see how fast they can get flaggers in place.
Dexter resident July 11, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The reasons for temporary road closures are good ones: Memorial Day parade, Dexter Daze parade, Holiday Hustle 5K Race, and the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. I can't think of any other closures. There was a bike race through town a couple of times, which was very cool. The route went down my street. These are really nice small town events that are great for the community. The road closures are a minor inconvenience for a very short time, and usually only for motorists driving through the Village to get to another destination. I would be interested to know how much is spent on extra policing.

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