Archive for February, 2009

M-53 Nightmares…

February 27, 2009

lauren091Head’s up for those of you who live, work, or regularly commute on the Van Dyke Expressway…. good ‘ol M-53 is getting a makeover!! Now I mentioned this a few weeks ago when I did a story on NEW 2009 construction, but not only will this affect drivers but *businesses* as well. Now I first saw an article about this in the Detroit News, and as I was reading I noticed the business owner that will take a hit from this road work is actually a friend of mine, so I knew I had to help get the word out! Lets start with the construction project details…



MDOT intends to repair 8 miles of M-53 between 18 Mile in Sterling Heights through 27 Mile in Washington Township. The project will also include the replacement of  the 26 Mile over pass  M-53, turning it into a round-about. There will be new sidewalks and utility upgrades. Now most importantly traffic *will* be maintained during this construction but already heavy backups are enough to draw any customer away.

harley-davidson-motorcycle-wallpaperNow this project isn’t expected to begin until April, but when the weather gets warmer Leather Works owner, Chuck Bell (MY FRIEND!!) will really be feeling the heat!  First and for most… this is such a great store! Now you may not take me as a motorcycle gal or picture me in leather vests BUT I have seen the products from this store up-close and personal at Harley Fest each and every year and it would make any motorcycle lover swoon! OK back to business… this is what Bell had to say, “It’s obviously going to affect us… that’s one of our main ports of transportation.”

The road construction is a part of a $45 Million road revival MDOT has planned for M-53, they admit it will cause some disturbance for businesses, but the work is needed. There are a number of detours that can be taken to not only avoid the delays but to still make it to your favorite store… 25 Mile & 27 Mile which are very heavily used. Also East of Van Dyke there is Jewell Rd. & Schoenherr.


As for what to prepare for, for the weekend… not much! But starting next week to major construction projects kick off one on I-96 and Livingston another at I-696 in Macomb County. Keep it right here on Local 4 News & for all of your construction updates! I can’t give it ALLL away today… have to save some for next week! 🙂



Racing with Disney!

February 27, 2009


Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

Happy Friday! You’re probably wondering about the title of this post… and I will explain in just a second, but let’s get some current traffic business squared away first.

As you are headed out this morning… Keep in mind that the roads are wet and you could drive through some mild ponding on the roadways. We have seen quite a few accidents on the freeways today-even rollovers-so just be extra careful.

As far as weekend construction… There isn’t anything scheduled that you need to be nervous about. Here is a list of the scheduled road work. Keep in mind all are weather permitting.

I-75: In Wayne County, bridge maintenance will result in the following lane restrictions:

  • Right lane closure on southbound I-75 from Dix Road (exit 40) to Goddard Road. The single lane closure begins at 9 a.m. on Friday and ends at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
  • From 7 a.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Monday, the right and center lanes will be closed on southbound I-75 from Dix to Goddard. In conjunction to the lane closures, the ramp from Dix Road to southbound I-75 will be closed from 9 a.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Monday. A detour will be posted for the ramp closure.

M-39 (Southfield Freeway): Detailed bridge inspections will result in the following restrictions:

  • On Saturday, the right lane of southbound M-39 will be closed from Pembroke (between 8 Mile and 7 Mile) to 7 Mile Road. The single lane closure begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.
  • On Sunday, the right lane of southbound M-39 will be closed at Joy beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.


Ok, now back to racing with Disney. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in a wonderful charity event, with Disney on Ice at The Palace of Auburn Hills. I was joined by fellow members of the media, Lisa Jesswein, morning host on 96.3 WDVD and Laura Varon Brown, editor for The Detroit Free Press.


Our misson: Beat Lightning McQueen-star of the movie, Cars-and beat him with the best time! So we each hopped in Mickey and Minnie’s Roadster in hopes of coming through for our charities-50 free tickets to the winner’s charity!


…it must have been the magic of Disney because we ALL tied with Lightning McQueen and we ALL did it in 45 seconds!!! =)


All of our kids won tickets to see Disney on Ice at The Palace this weekend! Lisa represented Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Laura raced for The Judson Center, and I was there for The Children’s ToothFairy Foundation, Cass Community Services, Haven of Oakland County and The Salvation Army.

It was so great to see the kids’ excitement when they found out they were going to see their favorite Disney stars! Plus, They got to meet the BIGGEST Disney stars at yesterday’s event! MICKEY AND MINNIE!


Okay… and I was excited to meet Mickey and Minnie too  😉  Hey, you’re never too old to appreciate the magic of Disney!


Enjoy your day and don’t forget to tune in to 104.3 WOMC today for Dick Purtan’s Radiothon for The Salvation Army. Carmen Harlan, Devin Scillian, Bernie Smilovitz, Ruth Spencer, Eric Braate and I will be joining Dick throughout the day on the airwaves. Go to our home page right here on to get all of the details.

Have a great weekend and see you Monday starting at 5am on Local 4 News Morning.

Tonight on Local 4 News at 6pm…

February 26, 2009

newsteam31As you drive to work or drop the kids off at school, have you ever wondered where the most accidents occur in YOUR county!? What about if your a *new* driver?  Well then this story is for you.

I’ve got the top 4 HIGH-CRASH INTERSECTIONS for each county!

This information comes from SEMCOG: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. They ranked the amount of accident that took place at each intersection in each county. Topping the charts is Oakland County!

HIGH-CRASH INTERSECTIONSw-11-mile-road-at-southfield-oakland-county

*Oakland County

1. 11 Mile & Southfield

2. 12 Mile & Telegraph

3. 12 Mile & Orchard Lake

4.  14 Mile & Orchard Lake

~From 2003-2007: 1,414 total accidents


*Macomb County

1. 11 Mile & Van Dyke

2. 12 Mile & Dequindre

3. 21 Mile & Gratiot

4. Garfield & Hall Rd.

~ From 2003-2007: 1,125  total accidents


*Wayne County

1. Ford Rd. at Haggerty

2. Ford Rd. at Wayne Rd.

3. Ford Rd. at Newburgh Rd.

4. Davison St. & Linwood St.

~From 2003-2007: 1,113 total accidents


*Monroe County

1. Steward Rd. at Telegraph Rd.

2. Custer Rd. at Telegraph Rd.

3. Mall Rd. at Telegraph Rd.

4. Dunbar Rd. at Telegraph Rd.

~From 2003-2007: 580 total accidents


* Livingston County

1. Challis Rd. at Grand River Ave.

2. Grand River at Latson Rd.

3. Grand River at Old US-23

4. Highland Rd. at Old US-23

~From 2003-2007: 588 total accidents


*St. Clair County

1. Kraft Rd. at M-25

2. Pine Grave Ave. at Sanborn St.

3. Holland Ave. at Pine Grove Ave.

4.  Hankcock St. at Pine Grove Ave.

~From 2003-2007: 521 total accidents


*Washtenaw County

1. Carpenter Rd. at Packard St.

2. Hogback Rd. at Washtenaw Ave.

3. Golfside Rd. at Washtenaw Ave.

4. Carpenter Rd. at Michigan Ave.

~From 2003-2007: 965 total accidents


Tonight on Local 4 News at 6pm… I will be Live from Ford Rd. and Haggerty with much more on the Worst Intersections in Metro Detroit! 


Less traffic on Michigan roads!

February 25, 2009

newsteam30Have you noticed fewer…MUCH fewer cars on the freeways? I sure have! My drive home from downtown isn’t half as jammed up as I’ve seen in the past. Well a new national report just gave us the answer…


So the obvious question is WHY?  The obvious answer may be the amount of lay-offs Michigan saw last year!


The analysis was taken by INRIX. The INRIX National Traffic Scorecard 2008 Annual Report provides a comprehensive analysis of the state of congestion in 2008 across America. The Motor City’s 49.6% decline in traffic landed in the 19th most congested city in the nation! Now that may seem surprising to us…since it SEEMS like were always stuck in traffic. But I can admit, I have noticed a drastic change.

Further analysis by INRIX showed that Westbound I-94 at the Lodge was the WORST bottleneck in Detroit. It only ranked as the 516th most congested spot nationwide. Overall, the report showed the congested hour for drivers in Detroit is on Friday from 5-6 p.m.

Here is how the rest of the nation ranks:

The Top 10 Most Congested Cities:

1.      Los Angeles, CA

2.      New York, NY

3.      Chicago, IL

4.      Dallas, TX

5.      Washington, DC

6.      Houston, TX

7.      San Francisco, CA

8.      Boston, MA

9.      Seattle, WA

10.     Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN

Check out this website to learn more!

Litter hotline tossed out with the TRASH!

February 25, 2009

newsteam29So lets start Wednesday off with a story… One of my closet friends experiences road rage… A LOT! (Who doesn’t?) Now something that’s not so common is how she relieves her stress on the road. She is obsessed with the “Litter Hot-line.” Yes, if you didn’t already know the number  1-800-44-TRASH is posted on highway signs that line metro-Detroit freeways. My friend has even gone so far as to store the hot-linein her cellphone so litterers can be reported at a blink of an eye!

Well as of February 1st… the litter hot-line is NO MORE!!! 😦 

I broke the news to my friend yesterday who is shocked and appalled by this news! So I knew *instantly* I must tell our Local 4 viewers! Because she CAN’T be the only person that uses it….right? hahaha

 So here’s a little litter hot-line history!


The toll-free number was created in 1988 in the metro Detroit area, and expanded statewide in late 1990. The program was mainly designed to go after major sources of trash, such as garbage trucks or other commercial vehicles. They didn’t want the program to build emphasis on people who tossed out cigarette butts, fast food wrappers, or pop bottles out of their window. (This is EXACTLY the people my friend reported haha)

litterThe cost per year for the program was small for MDOT,  only about $100 a month for an answering service that recorded calls and then forwarded the reports to MDOT.

  • “We received several hundred calls a year, a number that has been decreasing,” said Jon Reincke, MDOT engineer of operations. “It’s rare to get calls that report a significant trash problem. Instead, we hear about minor litter problems such as cigarette butts, and even calls about out-of-state trash. It is clear that the hot-line has outlived its usefulness.”

In January 2006, MDOT determined that the program would be phased out and the roadside signs displaying the toll-free number removed. Most of the signs are now gone; the remainder will be removed by this summer.

So if you’re like my friend, and are STILL disgusted by cigarette butts or pop bottles hitting your windshield you can report a those trash problems by calling your local MDOT Transportation Service Center; or if trash on the highway presents a dangerous driving condition, call 911.

Now for a more PRO-ACTIVE way to prevent littering across the state of Michigan… I found this! You can join the “Don’t Trash Michigan” campaign. Organizations representing thousands of everyday people invite you to join our campaign for a cleaner, greener Michigan. Check out this link to sign up:


Wings Traffic Tonight

February 25, 2009

heather-zara-headshot12Local 4 Traffic Blog by Heather Zara

Good Wednesday morning. As many of you are just getting to work, you may already be feeling the itch to get out and get on with your evening plans! On that note… HUGE game tonight, between the top 2 teams in the Western Conference, and it’s right here in Detroit. The Sharks are visiting the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena tonight at 7:30pm. This is definitely a game you will want to be in your seats for when the puck drops… So let’s get you there ON TIME! 

There are still orange barrels lining your drive through Detroit along I-75, between I-94 and Warren Avenue in both directions. 2 lanes are blocked off and that means only 2 lanes get by. Combine a sold out game at The Joe with evening rush hour traffic, and that’s just a headache waiting to happen. Try using M-8 The Davison to get to M-10 The Lodge instead. M-10 will take you all the way to downtown Detroit and you will see signs and exits leading you right to Joe Louis Arena and designated parking areas.

Have fun if you are headed to the game and Go Wings! See you tomorrow morning begining at 5am on Local 4 News Morning.

Traffic in the palm of your hand….

February 24, 2009

newsteam28Alright just about everyone has a phone that’s like a mini-computer. You don’t need to log onto Map Quest from your PC any more! You more then likely have a Blackberry, Palm, or an Iphone! These phones can do just about anything… so why not take advantage of what they have to offer and make the drive to work a little easier? or check for construction before you take a road trip?

Well of course you can always watch *ME* on Local 4 News 🙂 BUT….  why not pull up traffic info right on your PHONE! Now for those of you who don’t have a GPS systems this is a great tool to get used to and trust me, I’m a traffic reporter, I’ve done ALL the necessary research!

Let’s start with the IPHONE or ITOUCH:



Find your location, get directions, and see traffic — all from your phone. Maps on IPhone combines GPS, Wi-Fi, and cell tower location technology to create a very accurate mobile map application. Now have you ever taken a trip to the Itunes store? Well I can spend hours there, especially in the application section! This is where you can find all of the traffic applications to get you around *your* town or even another country! (no joke!) You can actually see traffic cams in Ontario, New Zealand , Australia!

Here’s one example, it’s called MOBILEYES. It can access live traffic feeds (like our “4 Live Traffic Cam’s) so you can see a bunch of cars sitting bumper to bumper! Current cities where this is available are: Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Knoxville, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. while other cities will eventually be added. Depending on the speed of your connection the app can show low, medium or high resolution images.






Another great traffic related application specifically for the Iphone is one called SAY-N-DRIVE (now this is cool)

Forget about typing long street addresses, cities and states to get directions on your Iphone. With SayNDrive just SAY your destination address and get the route and driving directions from your current location. You can also say any one of more than 10,000 business categories to find nearby businesses. Speech recognition is faster and easier than typing.

Ok I *REALLY* needed this yesterday when I was making my way through Southfield!  Because when your already lost who wants to TYPE all of that info in especially when you don’t know where you are?


Now you see the world of traffic information is ENDLESS! But you DON’T NEED a fancy Iphone to get high tech traffic alerts! Did you know Local 4 can ALSO provide traffic info in the palm of your hand too! 1st you have to log onto and go to the “traffic” page. Then click the link that looks likes this:

Local 4 can send you traffic alerts right to your phone and email so you can get them before you head home from work!

Heading to Ham-Town?

February 24, 2009

heather-zara-headshot11Local 4 Traffic Blog by Heather Zara

Happy Fat Tuesday, Happy Mardi Gras, Happy Paczki Day, and Good Morning!

Can you tell I’ve already had too much sugar?  That’s right, I ate a packzi.. All 400 calories and 25 fat grams of powdered sugary, red raspberry, fried goodness… and it isn’t even 9am yet.

Here in metro-Detroit, Hamtramck is famous for it’s homemade and delicious packis. No doubt many of you will be making the drive along I-75 to Caniff and Joseph Campau… So of course we have to do a Ham-Town traffic report!

We’re still dealing with construction along I-75 in both direction between I-94 and Warren Avenue, so If you are headed from Detroit-expect a slower commute during peak travel hours.  If you coming from the northern suburbs, you will be fine driving into Hamtramck, but there is some mid-day construction that might slow you down a bit as you head back to deliver the paczki. The right lane on the northbound side of I-75 will be blocked between I-696 and 11 Mile Road. It isn’t anything that you can’t handle, but nice to have a head’s up.

Enjoy the sweet treats gracing your workplace and classrooms and have a great day! See you tomorrow morning starting at 5am.

Roadwork going to be nasty in ’09

February 23, 2009

newsteam27STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING! It’s here…the construction list for 2009 & its a big one!

*Put some ASPRIN in the glove box for roadwork headaches are about to begin!*

As if the drive isn’t already bad enough, it’s about to get a whole lot harder to travel east and west across metro Detroit as the state begins its 2009 construction season.

I-94 through Detroit is already jammed beyond belief because it’s part of the main detour for about 110,000 cars, trucks and tractor-trailers being routed away from I-75 each day for the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project.

One of metro Detroit’s other favorite crosstown routes, I-696, is about to take a hit, too, with pavement and bridge repairs in Oakland and Macomb counties. Millions of dollars are going into these projects, $197 Million to be exact!


TONIGHT ON LOCAL 4 NEWS AT 6PM… I will be LIVE  with all the construction details & I’ll answer ALL your questions…

Is this apart of of stimulus package? ~

~When does begin? ~

~When will it END?!~

~Will it affect MY commute to work?~

MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi is already anticipating angry drivers! “Initially, when we start out there’s a lot of hollering, but things tend to improve as drivers divert to their own routes,” Morosi said. “The worst delays will be in the first couple of weeks.” He also said he believes drivers will adjust quickly to the construction once it begins this spring.


Now is here a SNEAK PEAK of what is to come…because the earlier I can warn you the BETTER you can avoid it!  0223_helmsmap

 Looks like the MOST money is being put into I-96 in Novi.

Here’s how it breaks down:

– 2 year project to repair 4 miles of pavement & 8 bridges

– Affects I-96 btw. Novi Rd. & Halsted

– $46-million

– Will last through 2010

– get used to exiting at Beck Rd. the Novi ramps will CLOSE for most of 2009!


Now thats just ONE of them…I have a headache ALREADY…




$197 Million into metro-Detroit roads in 2009

February 23, 2009

heather-zara-headshot9Local 4 Traffic Blog by Heather Zara

Good morning again! I just received a press release from MDOT announcing their 2009 construction schedule. Wanted to post it on here for all of you… Get ready for construction updates soon- I’m pretty sure that $197 million can buy a lot of orange barrels.

State road and bridge investments total

$197 million in Metro Detroit during 2009


February 23, 2009 – – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced its 2009 construction schedule which will provide millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements in the Metro Region. The Metro Region serves four counties – Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne, which carry more than 40 percent of the traffic in Michigan.

            The 2009 program for road and bridge improvements in the Metro Region will provide $100.4 million to repair 91.5 miles of pavement and $96.6 million to rehabilitate 77 bridges.   “This investment does not reflect additional road and bridge improvements that will be provided under President Obama’s Economic Recovery Plan,” said Metro Region Engineer Greg Johnson. “What it does reflect is our commitment to providing a safe and reliable infrastructure that will enhance the quality of life for our residents and assist in providing a stable economic base for growth and job retention.”

            In addition to projects announced for the 2009 program, several carry-over projects from 2008 will be completed this year. This includes the I-75 road and bridge reconstruction between South Huron River Drive and Gibraltar Road in Wayne County, I-94 road and bridge reconstruction between County Line Road and St. Clair Highway in St. Clair County, and interchange rehabilitation at I-696 and Mound Road in Macomb County. Also, crews expect to open the I-75 Gateway project in the city of Detroit.

            During 2009, the following improvements are scheduled:

  • A two-year project to rehabilitate 4 miles of pavement and eight bridges on I-96 from west of Novi Road to Halsted Road in Oakland County. Included in this project is the replacement of the bridges that carry eastbound and westbound I-96 over the CSX Railroad.
  • Pavement rehabilitation to 13 miles and repair to 42 bridges on I-696 between Drake and Campbell-Hilton roads in Oakland County.
  • Pavement repair on 2 miles and rehabilitation to six bridges on I-696 between Hayes and Nieman roads in Macomb County.
  • Pavement and bridge rehabilitation on 8 miles of M-53 (Van Dyke Freeway) between 18 Mile and 27 Mile roads in Macomb County.
  • Bridge replacement on eastbound and westbound US-12 (Michigan Avenue) over the Rouge River in Wayne County.
  • Pavement repair on 4 miles of northbound and southbound M-1 (Woodward Avenue) between Tuxedo and Sibley roads in the city of Detroit
  •  Reconstruction on 6 miles of eastbound and westbound I-69 between Miller Road and the Lapeer County line in St. Clair County.