Major construction is making its way back to I-75 in Oakland County

Madison Heights will see orange barrels headed to the area for a new interchange at 12 Mile. The Michigan Department of Transportation says roads will close and traffic will be interrupted, but the project should be completed by the end of the year.

The blue and white I-75 sign is seen on the street with snow on the ground and orange barrels in the background.

If you’ve traveled along Interstate 75 anytime in the past year, you’ve probably experienced traffic delays because of construction. And there’s more to come.

Madison Heights will see orange barrels headed to the area for a new interchange at 12 Mile. The Michigan Department of Transportation says roads will close and traffic will be interrupted, but the project should be completed by the end of the year.

MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi says the department was approached by the county, which has jurisdiction over 12 Mile, to evaluate the interchanges. 

Proposed DDI
Proposed I-75/12 mile diverging diamond interchange

Morosi says the ramps are outdated and add unnecessary slowdowns entering and exiting the freeway.

“They asked us to evaluate a DDI (diverging diamond interchange) at this location primarily because the existing interchange really has an outdated design problem and peak hour congestion.”

A diverging diamond interchange is a type of interchange design that aims to improve safety and mobility. It’s similar to a conventional diamond interchange, the most common type in the United States where the exit/entrance ramps make a diamond shape between the freeway and surface street. Right-hand turns are handled the same way at both a DDI and a diamond interchange, but it differs in how left turns are handled. There are DDIs along I-75 at 14 Mile and Big Beaver Roads in Troy and at University Drive in Auburn Hills.

The city asked MDOT to evaluate a DDI at this location primarily because the existing interchange really has an outdated design problem and peak hour congestion. An operational and safety analysis found that the DDI is “the preferred alternative and the best option from a capacity safety and efficiency perspective.” Federal officials approved the findings and decision to replace the interchange with the new efficient design, Morosi says.

The new interchange will eliminate loop ramps, a design from “way back when” that are challenging for drivers, especially in the winter months when the ramps are snowy and icy.

“We will really reduce the number of ramps at the interchange from six to four, which not only saves money in the long run, but also opens up some green space, which is nice,” Morosi says. “It’s a less impervious surface that maintenance crews have to deal with in the future and just replaces them with the long slip ramps, those straight ramps that allow traffic to get up the freeway speed on the ramps and then merge safely into traffic.”

Construction on the interchange ramps will begin this month, while this spring, the northbound section of I-75 North from I-696 to 13 Mile will see multiple lane closures and traffic shifts as part of the I-75 Modernization Project.

So it will mimic what we’ve done the last several years. It will take northbound traffic, place it on the southbound side of the freeway and allow crews to get that northbound section built.

The work will be similar to previous construction projects. “It will take northbound traffic, place it on the southbound side of the freeway and allow crews to get that northbound section built,” Morosi says. “In one year, we’ll replace a couple overpasses at Lincoln and Gardenia, and a couple bridges that take 75 over the local roads like 13 Mile and 12 Mile.”

On Feb. 10, MDOT is holding a public meeting to let residents and drivers know about the work and closures. Access to northbound I-75 at I-696, 11 and 12 Mile will be not available in late February or early March as construction to rebuild that section of I-75 begins, Morosi says.

To sign up for the meeting, click here.

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Author

  • Tia Graham

    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.