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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 19-10
Contact: Nancy Singer
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Phone: 202-366-0660

Nation's Top Highway Official Gets First-Hand Look at Recovery Act Project in Detroit Metro Area
Traffic Switch on Completed M-59 Westbound Lanes Will Begin Following July 4 Holiday

DETROIT - Drivers in the Detroit metro area are one step closer to a smoother and less congested ride now that the M-59 westbound lanes are finished and construction is set to start on the eastbound section, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez announced today.

Administrator Mendez was joined in Rochester Hills by Michigan Lt. Governor John D. Cherry and other state and local officials.

"This is another great example of Recovery funds not only putting people to work and benefiting the local community but also strengthening a key regional transportation link in the state," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is using $56 million in ARRA funds to widen M-59 from two lanes to three lanes in each direction, between Crooks Road and Ryan Road, and to repair six bridges.

"Recovery funds are jump-starting vital transportation projects that would have been shelved for years to come," Administrator Mendez said. "All around the nation, projects that have been on state 'wish lists' for lack of funding are now creating jobs and becoming reality because of the Recovery Act."

The 5.6-mile section of M-59 that falls between Interstates 75 and 94 is considered by local businesses and residents a priority road that has been in need of repair. M-59 is a major commuter route for the cities of Sterling Heights, Auburn Hill, Utica and Rochester. Average daily traffic on M-59 ranges from 79,900 vehicles on the east side of construction to 83,000 vehicles on the west.

Of the $26.6 billion in ARRA highway funds available nationwide, Michigan's share is $847 million. To date, Michigan has obligated the full amount for 725 projects. Currently, 673 projects are under way.

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