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Is an I-94 Expansion Necessary?

Stephen Henderson speaks with Rob Morosi, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), about the effects of adding lanes to one of the state’s busiest freeways. They discuss MDOT’s plans and how expanding I-94 fits into the future of Michigan’s improved roadways:

  • All about modernization:  Morosi says MDOT’s plans are focused on modernizing I-94 rather than simply expanding it. He says that as I-94 was built in the mid-1950s, the intent is to redesign the freeway for a new generation. He says changes such as removing outdated left lane entrances and exits as well as unsafe merge points from entrances onto the freeway are important factors.
  • Does it have to be wider?: According to Morosi, MDOT is considering additional methods of lessening congestion on I-94. He gives examples such as allowing drivers to utilize the shoulder as an additional lane during times of peak traffic congestion, or removing grass slopes in favor of sound walls to allow for additional space. Stephen and Morosi agree that Metro Detroiters have a history of fear of their homes and businesses being forced to move due to the construction of freeways. Morosi says that in 2015, it is time to alleviate these fears and that MDOT will not be “cutting a swathe through Midtown.”
  • How long until it will be finished?: Morosi says the time it will take to modernize I-94 is very much restrained by finances. He says only with additional funding will the $2.9 billion project be finished before the tentative 2036 completion date. He says MDOT can’t operate on the assumption that they will receive enough funding to accelerate the project.
  • What if the people don’t want this?: Stephen mentions that MDOT will be holding several public meetings to answer questions from stakeholders and interested citizens about the modernization plan. Morosi says input from the public is valuable to the process and will be weighed in the final decisions, but the priority for the project is safety. He says building I-94 into the safest freeway it can be is the bottom line for MDOT’s plans.

Click the audio link above to hear the full story.

Image credit: Reatildesigner

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