MDOT adding carpool lanes to I-75

The lanes will focus on reducing travel time during peak morning and afternoon commutes.

Photo of construction taking place on I-75.

Construction workers at Modernize I-75's segment 3 near E Meyers Ave.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is bringing carpool lanes to I-75 in Oakland County. It’s part of MDOT’s Modernize 75 project.

MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi says the new high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes should relieve congestion during peak travel times.

“The intent is to have that lane improve travel time reliability,” Morosi says of the goal of HOV lanes. “We’re looking at three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon.”

Those hours will be on weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.

During these times, only vehicles carrying two or more people — including the driver — will be allowed to use the HOV lanes between 12 Mile Road and South Boulevard.

Morosi states the HOV lanes will relieve congestion in an environmentally friendly way.

“You’re not having backed up bumper-to-bumper traffic or the emissions flowing out of vehicles that are at a standstill or moving very slowly,” says Morosi.

MDOT will monitor speeds to judge HOV’s effectiveness

The state of California has used HOV lanes for years, but it’s not uncommon for commuters to get stuck in traffic — especially on Los Angeles area freeways. MDOT will use certain benchmarks to determine if the I-75 HOV lanes are working.

“If our observations reveal that people are moving at 45 mph or greater 90% of the time those lanes are in operation, we will consider that a success,” Morosi says.

According to Morosi, drivers will be able to identify HOV lanes by diamond-shaped symbols on the pavement and designated signs.

“We’re putting in the foundations for cantilever signs as well as signs that come out of median barriers.”

Read: What will it take to fix Michigan’s roads?

Drivers who misuse HOV lanes could face penalties

The Michigan Legislature will determine what types of vehicles can use the HOV lanes. Morosi says buses carrying a lot of passengers would be able to use them, but he doesn’t expect the same for large trucks or semis.

“The intent is to have that lane improve travel time reliability,” he says.

Lawmakers will also decide what penalties to impose for misusing HOV lanes.

“We will be working with law enforcement as well as the local courts to enforce those citations.”

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  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.