'It's a nightmare': Royal Oak construction project causes chaos near 11 Mile and I-75

Posted at 11:32 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 23:33:44-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A big construction project in Royal Oak is causing chaos and confusion for residents.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation's website about the project, 11 Mile Road ramps along southbound 1-75 are set to close in the near future.

"I sat up in my bedroom window recording for about 10 minutes and I got probably 15 cars doing turnarounds and going the wrong way," said Tyler Ketelhut, who lives on South Stephenson Highway in Royal Oak.

His street is adjacent to 11 Mile Road close to the expressway. A nearby ramp gives access to 1-75 southbound. It closed over the weekend to prepare for a project.

The city of Royal Oak is installing a new water main under the southbound service drive.

In addition to the 11 Mile ramps, MDOT also says crews will close the southbound service drive from north of Gardenia Avenue to I-696.

"They basically told me that eventually, they will be closing down 4th Street and I will intermittently lose access to my driveway," Ketelhut said.

Kettlehut and other neighbors told 7 Action News the ramp has closed several times over the past two years. It's back open now, but it will close again soon and this time, it'll be until September of 2023.

"I moved into a house that is right off the expressway, so I knew what I was signing up for. But I didn't know when they were performing construction, they wouldn't have it handled," Ketelhut said.

South Stephenson is only open to local traffic, meaning people who live in this area. Ketelhut says the sign is often ignored.

"People will come down this way. They will make it all the way down to the end over there, which is also closed down, then they'll turn around and go the opposite way in traffic," Ketelhut said. "I am coming home from work or back from the gym or something and I am trying to get on my street and having cars coming hot on toward me."

Kettlehut says a simple road closed sign and only partial access to 4th Street may be a better deterrent.

We contacted MDOT about his concerns and they told us this is more of an enforcement issue.

Ketelhut says he tried reaching out to the Royal Oak Police Department multiple times. We also reached out to see if they were aware of the reported incidents.

"It is only a matter of time before there is a car accident and it's fatal. There are kids riding their bike down the street," Ketelhut said. "It's a nightmare."