GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (12/12/19) - A Grand Blanc Township intersection that's caused problems in the past is getting a makeover.
Leaders in the township want to make it safer for drivers. They'll be installing a roundabout in 2021, but they still need a temporary solution right now: traffic lights.
Before Thursday, there was just a stop sign at the intersection of Embury and Grand Blanc roads, a short distance east of Dort Highway.
"It's a nightmar. I wish it would've happened five years ago, but I'm glad that it's happening now. Better late than never," Grand Blanc Township resident Cathy Gentry said.
Trying to turn onto Grand Blanc Road from Embury Road when oncoming traffic is right around 50 miles per hour can be challenging. The intervals are short and the openings are narrow, making the intersection dangerous.
"That short interval, people are taking lives in their hands oftentimes, because they've waited there for several minutes in line stacked up sometimes 30 to 40 cars deep," Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Scott Bennett said.
The township asked the Genesee County Road Commission to check it out two years ago. The county's traffic study proved it was an issue, so they took action.
"There's scheduled to be a roundabout. We knew that. Our feeling was when that may occur, we're not sure and we need something more immediate," Bennett said.
Grand Blanc Township and the Genesee County Road Commission went half and half to put up a traffic light in the meantime. Although it's not operational yet, it did not go unnoticed.
"I am excited and it's about time. I've been waiting to see a light here or something done about the traffic for a good, long time," Grand Blanc Township resident Dinah Sweeney said.
Sweeney uses the busy intersection when driving for work. Drivers say it'll definitely help with the staggering congestion.
"Instead of all these cars just continuously driving, we'll actually have a break in traffic for a minute, so I think it's going to really help," said Davison resident Devon Burns, who uses the hectic intersection for work.
Bennett said once the traffic lights are operational, they'll be in a flashing mode for the first couple weeks just to alert drivers that there is a light. After that, it'll begin operating as a typical traffic light.
The traffic lights will be removed when the roundabout is installed in 2021. As part of the Dort Highway extension, drivers can expect to see several more roundabouts to alleviate traffic congestion in the future.