Construction resumes on Walton Boulevard, creating problems for campus commuters and residents

The snow has melted and orange cones now lead the way in both directions down Walton Boulevard as the Michigan road construction season is now back in full swing.

The construction on Walton Boulevard on the north side of Oakland University’s campus, between Squirrel Road and Adams Road, officially resumed on March 25, 2019.

Walton makes up a fraction of the nearly 100 miles of road that will be under construction in Oakland County in 2019, according to ClickOnDetroit.

There are four things the construction is aiming to accomplish before the summer. The first, and most significant of the tasks, is replacing the current culverts, which are the large pipes located 30 feet underground that carry water, with a more updated version called a box culvert.

It is expected that, in late May, two-way traffic will be moved completely to the north side of the road to begin reconstructing the south half of the road. The construction will require the inside left lanes to be closed both ways starting on June 3, 2019.

The second task will be resurfacing Walton from Squirrel Road to Adams Road, including the intersection at Walton and Squirrel, with an asphalt overlay. The curbs and gutters will then be replaced and the sidewalks and crosswalks will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.

Last year, three major culverts were replaced under the road,” said Craig Bryson, senior manager of communications and public information for the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC). “In fact, the need to replace the failing culverts was the impetus for the project. However, because the pavement along the section was not great, we determined it made sense to also resurface the road while we were there.”

The project has been in the works since last spring, but took a hiatus over the winter months. The construction is expected to be completed in the early summer.

The project would have likely been completed last year, except for a labor dispute between the operating engineers union and the contractors, which resulted in many projects across the state, including this one, being shut down for about a month during prime construction weather,” Bryson said.

The construction not only affects the nearly 80 percent commuter population at OU, but the students who live on campus well.

“The construction on Walton is very frustrating to me because when I drive to Whole Foods to get my kombucha after work at rush hour it takes way longer than it normally would,” said Peyton Lee, a freshman resident on campus.

College students’ time is very valuable between school and work, according to Lee, who said she cannot wait until the construction is over with so driving down Walton is no longer a source of stress for her.

“I am skipping my morning coffee just to get to school on time because of all the construction,” said Alexa Alban, a freshman commuter. “I have to wake up so early now to leave time for the traffic.”

All businesses and residential driveways on Walton Boulevard will remain open at all times through the duration of the construction.

The project, which costs approximately $6.9 million, is being funded mostly by RCOC and some funding is coming from the city of Auburn Hills, according to Rochester Media.

To stay updated on the construction and be notified of future traffic shifts, visit the RCOC website.