ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan’s new $39-million facility to maintain its transportation fleet is nearing completion.
Construction of the facility started last winter, and is on track to be completed in time for a fall opening, according to UM spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen. The proposed $39-million budget for the project has also stayed steady despite economic factors such as inflation or supply chain issues, officials said.
The approximately 70,000-square-foot facility is at the site of the university’s laundry building, which was demolished after Michigan Medicine built a fully operational laundry facility at an off-campus location, according to university documents.
The new building at 1665 Dean Road, near North Campus, provides expanded space for the university’s larger bus fleet. Since 1974, the bus fleet has grown 45% and the university now transports more than 7 million riders per year on UM buses.
The Dean Road Transportation Center replaces the current transportation building on the Stephen M. Ross athletic campus, with the exception of auto and truck fleet maintenance services. It is the second attempt at replacing the old transportation facility, as public pressure from northeast Ann Arbor residents in 2016 led to the cancellation of the first attempt.
A coalition of about 600 households from multiple housing complexes expressed concerns at the time that the transportation center would result in increased sound pollution, air pollution and traffic putting children and pedestrians in the largely residential area at risk.
The university redrafted a plan for the Dean Road facility, which was approved by the Board of Regents in February 2020. The center is 44,000 square feet smaller than the first proposal, has 243 less parking spaces and will not add any bus traffic on nearby Green Road, according to a university presentation on the project.
The new facility could save an estimated $100,000 each year as a result of increased bus operational efficiency, according to the project details, and the capability of maintaining larger articulated and electric buses could increase options for sustainability measures.
The new facility also is part of the university’s carbon neutrality goals, Broekhuizen said. This means sustainability measures such as eliminating fuel consumption through cutting 2,000 annual hours of daily bus operations and increasing capacity for electrical vehicle charging.
For more information on the project, visit the UM Architecture, Engineering and Construction website.
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