Innovate Mound connects infrastructure for more efficient, friendlier travel

This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

A revolutionary road is taking shape in Macomb County. And following a late October conference call with the Federal Highway Administration, Innovate Mound will be one step closer to reality.

Mound Road is an important industrial and commercial corridor for Macomb County and the region as a whole. Innovate Mound will transform the busy road into a high-performance thoroughfare, incorporating technology to improve infrastructure.

The stretch of Mound Road between I-696 and M-59 is the densest industrial corridor of its kind, says John Crumm, director of planning for Macomb County’s Department of Roads. Innovate Mound will not only rebuild the road, but configure it for 21st century-style mobility, one where autonomous vehicles interact with highway infrastructure to provide a more efficient transportation system.

Planned improvements include traffic lights that communicate with autonomous vehicles to improve traffic flow. This is especially important for truck delivery. Systems will be put into place so convoys of trucks can get through intersections at once, says Crumm.

Other improvements include making the high-traffic thoroughfare friendlier to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles, as well as incorporating improved lighting and landscaping.

This particular stretch of Mound Road is home to Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors plants and offices, the U.S. Army TACOM facility, as well as numerous other businesses. But Innovate Mound won’t only improve life for those already there.

“We’re looking to use this to attract businesses from all over the country,” Crumm says.

Not only is the project innovative in itself, but so too is the partnership that created it. Innovate Mound is a partnership between Macomb County and the cities of Sterling Heights and Warren, with each contributing tens of millions of dollars to the reconstruction. The project was also awarded a nearly $98 million INFRA Grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

This is no small feat, as most of these grants are awarded to states and not cities and counties, says Crumm.

“It really is an incredible thing.”

Innovate Mound has secured the grant and the call with the FHA is required to begin construction, which is currently scheduled to begin in 2020. In the meantime, smaller repairs to road surfaces will be made between 14 and 18 Mile roads and 12 Mile and I-696 until the project starts in earnest.

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