Silver Lake Road, also known as Broad Street, Main Street, and Grange Hall Road, spans dozens of miles across three different counties.
It’s one of the busiest roads in the area and significant population growth since the 1950s has only added to the traffic.
Beginning in the west in Byron, S. Saginaw Street and Byron Road meet and converge to make Silver Lake Road. The Byron section is approximately 3.7 miles, and the road goes east through Argentine Township (4.5 miles), then travels through Linden (2.6 miles) where it’s called Broad Street in the downtown. The name changes back to Silver Lake Road again when it becomes Fenton Township (approximately 1 mile) and in Fenton (3.3 miles).
It becomes Main Street past the railroad tracks. In Holly Township, and the village of Holly, when it’s called Grange Hall Road, the street is 6.5 miles.
From Byron to I-75, the road is approximately 21.6 miles.
It takes a sharp turn north at McGinnis Road and then heads east again in Groveland Township. The road continues on east and occasionally north, through Ortonville and beyond.
The road has overpasses, exits and entrances for two major highways in Michigan — U.S. 23 in Fenton and I-75 in Holly Township. Except for the overpasses and certain sections, this road has remained two lanes for decades, even through the growth of populations and businesses.
Population increases: (These numbers are from municipal records and the U.S. Census)
459 (1950) to 494 (2019), an increase of 35
1,330 (1950) to 7,091 (2020), an increase of 5,761
933 (1950) to 4,142 (2020), an increase of 3,209
8,245 (1950) to 16,843 (2020), an increase of 8,598
4,226 (1950) to 12,050 (2020), an increase of 7,824
4,030 (1950) to 12,006 (2020), an increase of 7,976
Village of Holly
2,088 (1950) to 5,997 (2020), an increase of 3,909
4,030 (1950) to 5,912 (2020), an increase of 1,882
This is a population increase of 39,194 people from 1950 (25,341) to 2020 (64,535). These numbers don’t include population information for Tyrone Township and Rose Township, which don‘t have direct access to Silver Lake/Grange Hall, but still contribute to traffic.
One 2018 traffic study found that approximately 20,000 vehicles drive on Silver Lake Road from Silver Parkway to LeRoy Street every day. It also found that the movement of the two U.S. 23 entrance/exit ramps at Silver Lake Road nearest the Eclections store operates at a level of service (LoS) of F.
Linden resident Craig Newberry is voicing his concerns with the growing populations but stagnant traffic patterns.
“What happens when all these people come? We need more schools. We need more churches. We need more grocery stores. We need more everything that’s included in infrastructure. One of the most important parts of infrastructure is roads. Roads have not kept up,” Newberry said. “When I started driving, almost 60 years ago, I was driving on the same traffic patterns that we still have.”
He said Fenton Road and Grand Blanc have not improved either.
“Those roads don’t traffic nearly the quantity of cars every day that we do on Silver Lake Road to Grange Hall Road,” Newberry said. “The quantity of traffic that unloads onto Silver Lake Road/Grange Hall Road is amazing. It’s bumper to bumper on Grange Hall Road when you get off 75 all the way over to Fenton on a Friday afternoon. A lot of traffic is dumped here in Fenton.”
The expansion of U.S. 23 and I-75 in the 1950s meant more families settling roots in the Fenton, Linden and Holly areas but work in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Southfield and other larger cities. With the construction on Silver Lake Road in Fenton this past summer, along with the work done on the U.S. 23 overpasses, traffic has been more congested compared to past years.
See part two in the next edition of the Tri-County Times.