By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
When Mann Road was re-opened by the Road Commission for Oakland County for the Labor Day weekend, it caused traffic problems and even an accident, according to Independence Township resident Mike Powell.
“Because of the haphazard way the RCOC opened Mann Road, motorists think they were given the green light to ignore the ‘Road Closed, No Through Traffic’ signs over the holiday weekend,” said Powell. “All Mann Road detour signs were also taken down. Why were the detour signs taken down when the road is supposed to be closed? Calls to the local sheriff to enforce the hundreds of ‘Road Closed, No Through Traffic’ sign violators resulted in confusion and then no action being taken by the Oakland County Sheriff or the Waterford police. There was no reason to leave Mann Road in the semi-open, unsafe condition in which the RCOC left it when taxpayers paid thousands of dollars to haul in truck load after truck load of gravel for the Mann Road detour that was safe.
“Had the road commission not been in a rush to open Mann Road, the multi-car accident that occurred at Mann and Clintonville Sept. 5 likely wouldn’t have occurred.”
Craig Bryson, RCOC senior communications manager, responded.
“We and our contractor wanted to get the road open to local traffic (not through traffic) for the weekend so that the local traffic would not have to continue to use the detour (and to get some of the detour traffic off of the private roads that are part of the detour route),” said Bryson. “The residents likely would have been unhappy had we kept the road closed through the weekend as well. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the crash on this situation.
“Regardless of road construction situations, motorists are responsible for driving safely at all times. Mann Road remains a construction zone, and is a very narrow road with narrow right of way, meaning the contractor has limited options for where to store materials and equipment. This will be the case while we resurface the road for the coming couple of months (the paving portion of the project is expected to be completed in late October). During that time the road will remain open to local traffic, but there will often be lane closures during the work. The alternative is to completely close the road, which we do not believe is a better option during the paving portion of the project.”
PHOTO: One township resident feels this accident on Mann Road was due to the road being opened while still under construction. Photo: Lori Powell