Reckoning 375: MDOT explains why it’s replacing I-375 with a boulevard

“Reckoning 375,” a new miniseries from “Detroit Today,” will explore the history behind — and repercussions of — the freeway’s construction, and what the replacement project will entail.

A rendering of the boulevard replacing Interstate 375 in Detroit.

A rendering of the boulevard replacing Interstate 375 in Detroit.

In the latest installment of Detroit Today’s special series, Reckoning 375 — which takes a deeper look at the planned “I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project” to replace the 1-mile stretch of freeway in Detroit with a six-lane boulevard  — host Stephen Henderson spoke with Jonathan Loree, project manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation, about the overarching goals of the project and its potential benefits for city residents and motorists.

Later on in the show, Henderson spoke with John Gallagher, a former Detroit Free Press columnist who has followed the project closely and has voiced concerns about how MDOT’s plan to construct a boulevard in place of the highway will benefit residents.

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Jonathan Loree is a project manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation leading the I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project. He says MDOT has to follow all federal rules and regulations when designing a road, which prioritizes traffic and traffic safety above all else. 

“It’s a boulevard street that’s intended to serve a multi-modal purpose,” Loree said. “It’s a street that the city can grow around.”

John Gallagher is a former columnist with the Detroit Free Press. He says MDOT is balancing different interests in the project, but the emphasis on moving traffic rather than a walkable neighborhood is misguided. 

“I think the plan, this multiple-lane corridor that they are setting up, is really more of a void, and does not allow for the creation of that kind of walkability,” said Gallagher.

Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.