Two major road projects in Grand Blanc Township complete and back open

Hill Road was closed between Saginaw and Center roads in Grand Blanc Township all summer.
Hill Road was closed between Saginaw and Center roads in Grand Blanc Township all summer.(source: WJRT)
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:47 PM EST
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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Christmas came a little early for drivers in Grand Blanc Township this week.

The Dort Highway interchange at I-75 reopened while the first leg of the Dort Highway extension and three new roundabouts opened for the first time Monday evening. A stretch of Hill Road also reopened Wednesday after a four-month widening project.

Drivers were more than ready for Hill Road to reopen between Saginaw and Center roads.

“The comments are, it took a long time -- and yes it did,” said Gerrad Godly, project manager for the Genessee County Road Commission.

That stretch of Hill Road was two lanes since it was originally built. But with increasing traffic volumes and new businesses, the road commission decided it was time to widen it this summer.

“The biggest change you’ll see is the three lanes. This will make the flow better,” Godly said. “Without the third lane, any kind of left turn movement would impeded traffic.”

The project was more challenging than most. Hill Road passes between two decades-old cemeteries, one of which is perched 25 feet above the road surface up a steep hill.

Crews had to remove the hill and install a giant retaining wall just feet from old gravesites to accommodate the wider road surface. Contractors also had to move electrical wires, water lines and fire hydrants along the road.

“There were a lot of utility conflicts with this project,” Godly said.

While the road commission hasn’t quite hit their target completion dates with every project, he said officials are happy to have the major work finished before the holiday season.

“When we missed some of our goals for the construction contract, we just knew it was imperative to get them done before this Thanksgiving weekend,” Godly said.

The road commission plans to return in the spring and finish details with the Hill Road project, including paving the final layer of asphalt. Meanwhile, construction will continue on the final leg of the Dort Highway extension between Cook and Baldwin roads.

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