American Center for Mobility begins construction of first phase of CAV proving ground


The American Center for Mobility (ACM) has announced that Michigan-based Angelo Iafrate Construction Company will oversee constructing the first phase of its connected and automated vehicle (CAV) proving ground at Willow Run.

The ACM is part of Michigan’s PlanetM public-private collaborative program, and will be built at a former General Motors plant that is located on more than 500 acres in Ypsilanti Township. The Center will serve as a purpose-built facility to test, develop and validate CAV technologies, as well as accelerate the development of voluntary industry standards, workforce and public education.

Angelo Iafrate was awarded US$24m contract for its work on the project. The first phase of construction includes building a 2.5 mile (4km) highway loop with on- and off-ramps and a 700ft (213m) curved tunnel, erecting a customer garage, and building out an operations center. The first phase will be completed and open for testing in December 2017.

Construction begins following announcements of a second round of US$30m in funding. To date, more than half of the US$110m needed to fund the advanced test bed has been secured, and additional private investment announcements are expected soon.

In addition to construction starting on the site, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has also begun its work to repurpose a portion of US-12 (Michigan Avenue) between Ecorse Road and Airport Industrial Drive. About 1.5 miles (2.4km) of the west-bound divided road will become part of the Center’s closed track. The eastbound portion of US-12 will remain public and be converted to two-way traffic, with safety enhancements being made at US-12 and Dorsett Avenue.

“The American Center for Mobility is attracting worldwide interest from private and public entities that have a need for developing and testing advanced connected and driverless vehicle technologies. We’ve been rapidly crafting this world-class purpose-built facility, with careful consideration of critical features and fidelity to real-world driving conditions,” said John Maddox, president and CEO of the Center. “We feel the Angelo Iafrate Construction Company has the real-world expertise and proven capability necessary to handle a project of this magnitude.”

Steve Arwood, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, commented, “The excitement around the American Center for Mobility and the economic opportunities it will provide for Michigan continues to grow. Construction is underway and we look forward to watching the progress throughout 2017.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).