Posts Tagged ‘Traffic’

A “HAWK” watching over you!

August 19, 2009



This is completely NEW, completely INNOVATIVE, and the ONLY one in Michigan. It’s called the HAWK!



Watch tonight for my story on Local 4 News at 6pm


 The Road Commission for Oakland County today announced that next week it will begin a one-year test of High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) pedestrian crosswalk beacons at the pedestrian crossings at the Maple/Drake roundabout in West Bloomfield Township.

The HAWK is a new form of pedestrian crosswalk beacon that is lit only when it is activated by a pedestrian pushing the crosswalk button. It has a different configuration than traditional traffic signals, with two red lights next to each other above one yellow light.

Here is video of a HAWK beacon in Portland, Oregon.


The Maple/Drake roundabout test is one of the first test applications of the HAWK beacon at a roundabout in the country. The test is intended to determine whether or not the HAWK beacon is beneficial in helping pedestrians cross the approaches to a roundabout.

“Safety is the top priority of the Road Commission for Oakland County, and we are continually striving to find ways to enhance safety for both motorists and pedestrians,” explained RCOC Managing Director Brent Bair. “This test will help us learn whether the HAWK is a way to enhance pedestrian safety at roundabouts.


The Maple/Drake roundabout HAWK beacons are expected to be fully functional by the end of next week. At that time, Drake Road will also be re-opened at the Maple/Drake roundabout. It has been closed at both the north and south sides of the roundabout since early July so that the roundabout and adjacent crosswalks could be modified to accommodate the HAWK, and so the HAWK beacons could be installed.

HAWK #2RCOC has hired Western Michigan University and North Carolina State University to conduct a study of the HAWK beacons at the roundabout, and, in particular, their impact on blind pedestrians.

“We are firmly convinced that roundabouts in general are one of the greatest safety enhancing tools available to us,” Bair stated. “We are interested, though, in the possibility that devices such as the HAWK could even further enhance safety.”

Bair cited studies by both the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that have documented substantial safety benefits from converting previously signalized intersections to roundabouts. For example, the FHWA documented a 90 percent reduction in traffic fatalities at intersections converted from traffic signals to roundabouts, while the IIHS documented a 37 percent reduction in total crashes at intersections converted from traffic signals to roundabouts, in addition to reduced fatalities and injuries.

“There is virtually nothing else that we, as an agency, can do that will result in a 90 percent reduction in fatalities,” Bair said. “We feel strongly that roundabouts are a huge safety enhancement for motorists and pedestrians in Oakland County. However, if there is any way to even further improve safety, we will always take a look.”



Weekend4Cast: Construction

June 26, 2009

heather zara headshotLocal 4 Blog by Heather Zara

Here is a detailed list of the construction scheduled for this weekend; organized by freeway/roadway. As always, all projects are weather permitting and subject to change. There are no full freeway closures… Just a couple of ramp closures that you need to know about if you’re driving through Belleville or Romulus.

I-94/I-275 Interchange

Expect the following ramp closure on Saturday from 7am-7pm

  • WB I-94 to SB I-275
  • NB I-275 to WB I-94
  • Detours will be posted.


In Oakland County…

  • Double lane closure between M-10 and I-75 in both directions
  • 3 lanes will be closed at Woodward in both directions
  • 9pm Friday-5am Monday
  • Use Mile Roads as alternate to avoid congestion

In Macomb County…

  • Down to one lane between Van Dyke and Dequindre in both directions
  • 8pm Friday-5am Monday
  • Mound off ramps still closed
  • Use Mile Roads to avoid congestion

SB I-75

  •  Only one lane open from I-375 to I-96
  • 4am Saturday-8pm Sunday


In Detroit…

  • WB Express lanes closed from Davison Avenue to Outer Drive
  • All traffic will be routed to the WB Local lanes
  • Saturday 7am-7pm

In Oakland County…

  • WB I-696 to WB I-96 down to one lane
  • NB I-275 to WB I-96 down to one lane
  • WB I-96 down to 2 lanes from I-275  to Novi Road for paving
  • EB  I-96 will have 2 lanes open from Novi to M-5
  • 10pm Friday-5am Monday

US-12 Michigan Avenue

  • Down to one lane between M-39 and Greenfield in both directions
  • 9pm Friday-5am Monday

M-153 Ford Road

  • Down to one lane at Evergreen in both directions
  • 9pm Friday-5am Monday


  • One 15 minute total closure at Ryan Road in both directions
  • Sometime between 6am and 8am on Saturday


  • Intermittent single lane closures between 18 Mile and 26 Mile in both directions
  • 8pm Friday-5am Monday

Have a great weekend! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Local4News and @HeatherZara. See you Monday on Local 4 News Morning.

5/26/09 Construction update

May 26, 2009
heather zara headshot Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

Back to work and back to road work. The holiday is officially over and so are the limits on the number of orange barrels scattered across the metropolitan area. Here are MDOT’s plans for the week ahead. Each project is broken down by roadway.


 M-10 (Lodge Freeway):

At the Detroit/Southfield border, overnight closures of northbound and southbound M-10 at 8 Mile Road for ongoing bridge repair. Posted detours utilize the M-10 service drives in each direction.

  • Southbound M-10 will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending by 5 a.m. the following mornings.
  • Northbound M-10 will be closed Tuesday and Thursday nights, beginning at 9 p.m. and ending by 5 a.m. the following mornings.

In Oakland County, there will be a single lane closed on southbound M-10 at the bridge that carries eastbound I-696 over M-10 for bridge painting. This work is part of the ongoing I-696 bridge rehab in Oakland County.

  • The single lane closure begins at 9 p.m. and ends by 5 a.m. the following mornings, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.


In Wayne County, an additional lane will be closed on northbound I-275 from 5 Mile to 6 Mile Roads. The work is associated with the current project to extend the current left lane from 5 Mile Road to 6 Mile. The additional lane closures are scheduled to begin at 4 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on both Thursday, May 28 and Friday, May 29.

In Wayne County, a single lane closure on southbound I-275 at Koppernick (north of Ford Road) on beginning Tuesday and ending Friday. The single lane closure will be in effect beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. each day.


In Oakland County, the eastbound I-696 exit to Coolidge Road will be closed starting this morning and ending on June 3. A detour will be posted for ramp traffic. The closure is needed for ongoing bridge repair along the corridor.

In Oakland County, westbound I-696 will be reduced to two lanes at Bermuda St. for bridge painting on the RR structure located just west of Bermuda. The lane restrictions begin at 9 p.m. and end by 5 a.m. the following mornings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. In conjunction, the Bermuda entrance ramp to westbound I-696 will be closed at the same time as the freeway lanes.

In Oakland County, westbound I-696 will be reduced to two lanes from US-24 (Telegraph Road) to M-5 for ongoing pavement and bridge rehab. The lane restrictions begin at 10 p.m. and end by 5 a.m. the following morning on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

M-1 (Woodward Ave):

In Oakland County, a permit has been approved to allow for filming on M-1 between 12 Mile and 16 Mile roads. There will be stoppages in traffic (assistance from Oak County Sheriff) for approximately five minute intervals. The filming will take place Wed and Thurs, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.

M-53 (Van Dyke Freeway):

In Macomb County, the northbound M-53 exit ramp to east and westbound 26 Mile Road will be closed for construction. The closure of the ramp begins at 5 a.m. on Thursday and is expected to be open by the end of June. A detour will be posted.

*As always, all projects are weather permitting.

See you on Local 4 News Morning, weekdays from 5-7am… and catch us on the web at Twitter @HeatherZara and @Local4News.

The worst drivers in America: You won’t find them in Michigan

May 22, 2009

heather zara headshotLocal 4 Blog by Heather Zara

You may be thinking or even saying  it several times a day when you’re driving on our Michigan roadways; “Nobody around here knows how to drive!!!”  Well, imagine what they’re muttering as they’re driving around in New York, because the worst drivers in America live there, and now there is proof of that.


GMAC Insurance conducted a test to measure just how much drivers actually know about safe driving.  Want to know the results? You might want to sit down for this. It turns out that 20.1 percent of licensed drivers in America wouldn’t pass a written drivers exam if they took one today.  That’s about 41 million drivers across the US.

Michigan ranks 22nd in case you were wondering.

By the way…who says “old people” can’t drive? The results from GMAC’s National Drivers Test for 2009 showed, the older the driver, the higher the test score.

  • Drivers over 35 were more likely to pass than those under 35
  • Men over 45 had the highest scores
  • The age group with the highest failure rates: young adults 18-24 years old

Want to test out your driving skills? Take the test at 

Good luck and if you fail… let me know, so I can warn everyone of your route. Just kidding!  😉  Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

2 full freeway closures are scheduled for this weekend

May 7, 2009

heather-zara-headshot2Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

For the most part, we’ve been pretty lucky lately when it comes to construction on the weekends. Our luck is about to change my friends. There are two full freeway closures scheduled for this weekend.  As always, projects are weather permitting. 

*NOTE: The closures may reopen Sunday afternoon for Mother’s Day and the Red Wings’ home game*


Full closure on I-696 in both directions between US-24 Telegraph and M-5

  • 9pm Friday-5am Monday
  • Detours will be posted
  • EASTBOUND DETOUR: EB M-5 to EB M-102 (8 Mile) to NB US-24 to reconnect with EB I-696
  • WESTBOUND DETOUR: SB US-24 to WB M-102 (8 Mile) to WB M-5 to connect to WB I-96
  • Expect heavy delays this weekend


Full closure on M-10 Lodge at 8 Mile

  • 10pm Friday-1pm Sunday
  • Traffic will be routed off and back onto the freeway using the 8 Mile ramps
  • Should only delay your commute slightly, depending on traffic volumes

Have a great day and don’t forget to tune in to Local 4 News Morning starting at 5am. See you then!

AFFORDABLE vacations you can take, right here in Michigan

April 29, 2009

heather-zara-headshot9Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

There is no doubt about it. Everyone is watching their spending now more than ever. The state of the economy has people cutting down on the amount of cash they’re spending on just about everything; especially leisurely activities.

With summer quickly approaching, will you be skipping your yearly family trip or are you hoping to take break from the daily grind without breaking the bank? Well, we’ve decided to find some beautiful, fun-filled, and more importantly, affordable retreats that are right here in Michigan. 

Boosting our own economy while taking a break from worrying about the economy-talk about a 2-for-1 deal.

Here is where you get to sound off, Detroit. Leave me a comment at the bottom of the page, send me an email at, follow me on Twitter @Local4News, send me a facebook message on our Local 4 News Morning fan page… Whatever way you choose… I’m listening.

  • Are you looking to take an affordable trip this summer?
  • How long of a vacation are you able to take?
  • What kind of trips are of interest to you and your family? (Theme park, winery, camp grounds… etc.)
  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Have you and your family taken any financially friendly trips in Michigan before?

I am looking forward to hearing back from you while I continue to crunch the numbers on affordable vacations in our great State of Michigan.

Stay tuned for when this exclusive story airs on Local 4 and

Major delays are here until May

April 21, 2009

heather-zara-headshot7Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

Good Morning. A warning to drivers that head East on I-96 towards the I-696/I-275/M-5 Interchange: Don’t hop on the freeway- unless you want to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an extra 20-30 minutes during rush hour.

There are lane shifts and a single lane closure on I-96 between Beck and M-5. That’s where the slow downs begin but the real backups are because of what’s happening on I-696, further east of I-96.

Construction Break Down

  • 2 lanes are blocked on I-696 between Drake and I-275 in both directions
  • EASTBOUND backups have been worse (commuters coming from the west drive to Southfield, Royal Oak, Warren and Detroit)
  • Expect to move at speeds around 10-15 MPH for an extended period of time and 20-30 minute delays to your travel time
  • This construction is expected to last until mid-May

Alternate Routes 

  • Use Grand River or the Mile Roads
  • If you are heading West on I-696 in an attempt to get to I-96: Try using Telegraph to 12 Mile, to M-5, back to I-96

Pack your patience, friends. This one is going to be rough. Follow us on Twitter @Local4News and @HeatherZara. See you tomorrow on Local 4 News Morning. Have a great day and leave extra early, I-96 Eastbounders!


Your Final 4cast

April 2, 2009

heather-zara-headshot2Good Morning! The Final 4 festivities are right around the corner. That means a lot of positive exposure for our city, a lot of fun around town and let’s not forget… a lot more traffic.

I don’t think anyone is complaining though. I for one, will welcome the congestion with open arms though. After all, it is the BIG DANCE!  🙂

Here is a heads up on some of the events planned for tomorrow, Friday April 3rd. Plan on leaving a little early if you need to travel through the area along I-75, I-375, M-10 or the surface streets in Detroit.

Final 4 teams practice at Ford Field

  • Open to the public
  • Gates open at 11am
  • 1st practice is at noon
  • Last practice is at 4pm
  • Each team gets one hour of court time

College All Star Game at Ford Field

  • 2 teams of players from around the NCAA will go head to head
  • Game time is at 4:35pm
  • Event is FREE

AT&T Block Party

  • Free concerts all along the Riverfront downtown in Detroit
  • 11am-10:30pm

Celebrity/Media All Star Charity Game

  • Your favorite TV and Radio media members and personalities duke it out in this exciting game for a good cause
  • Tip off is at noon at Cobo Center
  • Local 4’s Rhonda Walker, Devin Scillian and Rod Meloni are playing and our very own morning show Director, Randy Henry, is coaching
  • You won’t want to miss this!

Check us out on Twitter too @Local4News and @HeatherZara to find out what’s happening and where we’re headed next!

No full FREEWAY closures this weekend, but still construction

March 27, 2009

heather-zara-headshot18Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara

Happy Friday! The good news is that you won’t have to completely dodge a freeway this weekend because none of them are completely shutting down.  That’s not the case on a busy stretch of main roads in Dearborn though. Here’s a look at the scheduled weekend construction by county.


Wayne County

Ford Road (M-153) in Dearborn will be closed at Evergreen in both directions

  • 8pm tonight (Friday)-5am Monday
  • Traffic will be routed to the Evergreen exit and entrance ramps in each direction.
  • At 5am Monday, the following ramp closures will be in place: EB Ford to SB Evergreen and SB Evergreen to EB Ford. Detours posted through May
  • At 5 am Monday, expect the following lane restrictions: one lane block on Ford Rd. at Evergreen in both directions until mid-summer

Oakland County

EB I-696 at Couzens Avenue

  • Right lane blocked today (Friday) from 1-3pm
  • Expect minor delays

I-696/I-75 Ramps

  • 6am-9am Saturday: EB I-696 to NB and SB I-75 will close
  • 9am-12pm Saturday: WB I-696 to NB and SB I-75 will close
  • 6am-9am Sunday: NB I-75 to EB and WB I-696 will close
  • 9am-12pm Sunday: SB I-75 to EB and WB I-696 will close
  • Detours will be posted but you can use Woodward as an alternate

Macomb County

I-696 between Hayes and Gratiot

  • 8pm tonight (Friday) until 5am Monday
  • 2 right lanes will be blocked in both directions

I-696 between Van Dyke and Dequindre

  • 8pm tonight (Friday) until 5am Monday
  • 2 right lanes will be blocked in both directions

*Try using 10 or 12 Mile Road instead of I-696 to avoid probable congestion this weekend

That’s all folks! Not that bad, right? Have a great weekend-see you back here bright and early on Monday and on Local 4 News Morning, starting at 5am. Also, follow us on Twitter @HeatherZara and @Local4News for updates over the weekend. I’ll try and keep up with the tweeting. Someone help me… Is that the correct Twitter lingo? 🙂

If you drive through Warren… Check this out

March 26, 2009



Local 4 Blog by Heather Zara


If your commute takes you through the city of Warren, you have probably already figured out that the I-696 ramps to Mound Rd. have been closed for the last couple of weeks- and that ramp closure will be in place until early June.

Here’s another addition to the $24 million project dedicated to repairs through that area: a 9-week full closure of Mound Road over I-696. Uh oh…



Who:Our friends at MDOT are rolling out the barrels-don’t be hard on them-they’re making our roads nicer 🙂

What:It’s a part of the bridge rehabilitation project along I-696 between Dequindre and Schoenherr

When: It starts tomorrow, Friday, March 27th at 9pm and will last until early June

Where: Mound Rd. in both directions right over I-696 in Warren will be blocked

Why: To help facilitate the Fall 2009 completion date of the entire project!

How:NB Mound traffic will be redirected via the EB I-696 service drive, NB Van Dyke Avenue & the WB I-696 service drive to access NB Mound. The posted detour for SB Mound traffic includes the WB I-696 service drive, SB Dequindre & EB I-696 service drive to get back to SB Mound.


Have a great day and check in with me on Twitter for updates throughout the morning! You can follow me @HeatherZara. See you tomorrow.