City of Auburn Hills

By serving as the city’s engineering department, OHM Advisors brings expertise in roads, sewers, and planning to help transform a city into top-choice business destination.

Overview
Investing in infrastructure and innovation puts a city on the map.

Even before Auburn Hills became an official city in 1983, leaders in Pontiac Township and the Village of Auburn Heights had a vision for their future community as a premier, high-tech, and progressive destination for commercial development. These leaders had the foresight to invest in top-notch infrastructure to bring business to the city. And they weren’t afraid to be pioneers when it came to new approaches, cost-cutting innovations, and problem-solving solutions.

From the very beginning, the community trusted OHM Advisors to study, recommend, and implement high-value solutions that would help achieve long-term goals. From designing road improvements to master planning the city’s water and sewer systems, we’ve been instrumental in laying the groundwork to attract the world-class businesses that now call the City of Auburn Hills home. Over the past 30+ years, we’ve expanded on that foundation, helping shape nearly every square foot of the city, including its downtown, residential neighbors, parks and leisure facilities, and retail destinations.

As much more than consultants, OHM Advisors has always served as the city’s only engineering department. In this capacity, we provide Auburn Hills with access to a team of experts with dedicated focus areas in traffic, transportation, water resources, visioning, economic development, and planning. As the City of Auburn Hills has transformed into one of the area’s most desirable zip codes, particularly for high-tech automotive businesses, our relationship has deepened. As much as OHM Advisors is the City of Auburn Hills’ engineer; the city is our city. We are proud to be personally and professionally invested in its continued success.

Thinking Differently

Oakland Technology Park—Laying the foundation for growth.

The governor’s vision for a research and technology park to bring new high-tech jobs to the state dates back to the 70s. Due to Auburn Hills’ enviable location close to I-75 and over 1,000 acres of land ripe for development, the idea took root, and companies like Chrysler took notice. This served as a catalyst for additional interest, and soon plans for The Palace of Auburn Hills and the Great Lakes Crossing lifestyle mall were underway. To support the influx in development, the emerging city turned to OHM Advisors to plan and design road, water, and sewer systems. Beyond engineering the infrastructure, we helped create plans for pedestrian and bike paths to promote connectivity. And we introduced then-emerging techniques for stormwater management.

Bloomfield Orchards Footing Drain Disconnect Pilot Program – Eliminating sanitary sewer-related basement flooding.

The Bloomfield Orchards subdivision has always been a great place to live. Except when the overburdened sewer system caused basements to flood. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality wanted the city to invest in storage basins to handle the problem. But OHM Advisors brought a more cost-effective and innovative solution to the table. By disconnecting footing drains in the basements of homes, we eliminated the primary sources of inflow from the sanitary sewer system. Our first-of-its-kind pilot program won awards by improving the health and welfare of residents and keeping the city well within its town outlet capacity, enabling continued development. Other municipalities are currently studying our program as a model for public/private cooperation.

Annual Road Maintenance Program—Maximizing the investment in infrastructure.

Back in the mid 90s, when many communities repaired their roads only when excessive deterioration demanded it, OHM Advisors helped the City of Auburn Hills launch its innovative asset management program. By annually investing in its roadway system, the city maintains the quality of the infrastructure while reducing the total lifecycle costs of its assets. On the city’s behalf, we studied and became experts in a variety of innovative surface treatments, which we introduced to the community and later to the region. In addition to annual assessments and yearly improvements, we developed a five-year roadway capital improvement plan. The road maintenance program has since become the new standard in the state.

Downtown Planning Effort—Creating the infrastructure to support new development.

Since the late 90s, Auburn Hills has envisioned a thriving downtown. OMH Advisors worked with the city and its stakeholder to plan infrastructure improvements, paving the way for significant renovation and reinvestment in the area. We developed a master plan including 1.5 miles of new arterial road and pathway; new sanitary sewer, water main, and storm sewer facilities; bridge improvements; and new streetscape amenities. And we designed and oversaw the fast-track reconstruction of all improvements. The projects have transformed downtown into a walkable, vibrant district that connects to nearby Oakland University, thus attracting new residential and retail development to benefit the entire community.

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure—Encouraging plug-in electric vehicles in the city.

As an innovative city in the world’s automotive capital, Auburn Hills is committed to advancing adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, or PEVs. OHM Advisors helped the city draft a zoning ordinance amendment that encourages developers to plan for PEV use. To fuel the initiative, we investigated how to legally reserve space for PEV charging, and we developed standardized signage, pavement markings, and an amendment to the city’s parking ordnance. Committed to walking the walk, the city installed seven of its own charging stations, and our team developed the installation guidelines. As a result of this work, OHM Advisors will serve as the prime consultant in creating an electric vehicle infrastructure readiness plan for the entire state of Michigan.

"We have seen our city grow and innovate right alongside our partner, OHM Advisors, over the past five decades as we worked hand-and-hand to shape the Auburn Hills of today. Those efforts have resulted in the growth of our business community and an enhanced quality of life for those who live and work here."
Kevin McDaniel - Mayor, City of Auburn Hills, MI

Awards and Honors

Community

  • A new branded interchange at I-75 and University Drive

  • University Drive enhancements

  • Squirrel Road rehabilitation

  • Conceptual development plans for downtown Auburn Hills

  • Galloway Creek restoration

  • Trailway system for a healthier community

  • Electric vehicle charging station, as part of the Plug-In Ready Michigan initiative

  • University Drive improvements

  • Squirrel Road improvements

Advancing Communities

By focusing on creating a favorable business climate and investing in the infrastructure to support world-class companies, Auburn Hills has successfully attracted the likes of Nexteer Automotive, Continental Automotive Systems, Valiant, and Merlin Entertainments Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland to its city. Every business day, the city’s population swells by five times to nearly 100,000 as commuters flood in, making it the thriving commercial district it set out to be.

Beyond becoming a premier business destination, the city has seen its residential population increase as well. And it has revitalized its relationship with Oakland University, partnering on a number of initiatives including the University Center in the downtown district.

Today, as a destination for business, education, retail, and quality living, Auburn Hills is enjoying the success of its transformation while staying focused on its future. And OHM Advisors has been a true partner at every step. We remain committed to introducing new innovations and asset management plans that will help the city maintain and improve its infrastructure, effectively manage is systems, and sustain its growth and viability long-term.

Related Work

  • Squirrel Road Rehabilitation
  • Auburn Hills Civic Center Park Multi-Sport Field
  • Auburn Hills Water Master Plan and System Upgrades
  • Stormwater Retrofits to Reduce Runoff Quantity and Improve Water Quality
  • Galloway Creek Restoration
  • Auburn Hills Sanitary Sewer Upgrade
  • And more…
Since 1962.
Advancing Communities.

Great cities, like Auburn Hills.

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