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Detroit Free Press Matt Helms Column: Hines Drive is Closing Today

Sep 16, 2007

By Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press

Sep. 17--Drivers on a couple of busy metro Detroit roadways will have to find alternate routes starting today.

If you're one of the roughly 15,000 drivers a day who take Hines Drive in Wayne County, you'll be out of luck for a couple of weeks starting this morning. Hines Drive is scheduled to close at 6 a.m. today for two weeks of bridge work at Telegraph in Dearborn Heights.

So much for the leisurely scenic route.

The Michigan Department of Transportation said crews will demolish the southbound Telegraph bridge over Hines, requiring the shutdown of Hines between Woodbine and Warrendale through Oct. 1.

MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said the eastbound Hines detour will take Woodbine to Ann Arbor Trail, then Outer Drive back to Hines. The westbound detour will follow Warrendale, Warren and Inkster roads back to Hines.

The bridge work doesn't change the current configuration of Telegraph traffic, which has been shifted onto the northbound side with two lanes open each way between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren, Morosi said.

The bridge repairs are part of a larger project to resurface Telegraph between Joy and Ford roads in Dearborn Heights and overhaul Telegraph bridges over Hines and the Rouge River. The work is expected to last into mid-November.

Meanwhile, a two-week shutdown of 14 Mile Road in Farmington Hills is set to start early Tuesday as crews begin resurfacing the road between Middlebelt and Inkster. The $625,000 project, scheduled to last until late October, covers a one-mile stretch of 14 Mile that carries about 10,000 vehicles a day.

After the two-week closure, drivers should expect 14 Mile to be down to one lane with flaggers controlling traffic during peak times, said Andrew Konkle, a civil engineer for Farmington Hills.

The eastbound detour will take southbound Middlebelt, eastbound 13 Mile and northbound Inkster back to 14 Mile. The westbound detour will follow southbound Inkster, westbound 13 Mile, northbound Northwestern Highway and Middlebelt back to 14 Mile.

It pays to shop around

I'm finally seeing relief in what I pay for car insurance.

My last driving offense -- a minor fender bender in 2004 -- fell off my driving record in August and isn't a factor anymore for most insurers.

I went shopping around, online with sites that offer multiple quotes and by phone with Progressive, State Farm and AAA Michigan.

Since 1999 I'd been with Progressive, cheapest for me through thick and thin but not anymore. Progressive's $1,405-a-year offer was undercut when I called local agents from State Farm and AAA Michigan.

State Farm offered $572 for six months, or $1,144 a year. Surprisingly, AAA bested that at about $554 for six months, or $1,108 a year. AAA had always been on the high end for me.

It helped to include transferring my house insurance along with the car policy. State Farm and AAA both give discounts for that kind of bundling.

I cut nearly $600 a year off my house and car insurance costs, making sure to keep my coverage levels equal or higher than under previous insurers.

Sweet relief! At last, paying the insurance bill hurts less.

Full disclosure: I did not tell agents at State Farm or AAA that I write about driving for the Free Press or would be writing about the insurance search, so I wouldn't get preferential treatment.

Contact MATT HELMS at [email protected] or 313-222-1450.


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