One of the biggest road projects in Metro Detroit is almost finished. The Michigan Department of Transportation is getting ready to reopen the I-75 bridge over the Rouge River by Nov. 15, 2018.
MDOT closed the bridge to southbound traffic almost two years ago. Since then, crews have replaced all the concrete on both sides of the bridge. Spokeswoman Diane Cross says the plan is to re-open one southbound lane between Clark Ave. and Springwells St., and all lanes south of Springwells.
“Either take that one lane of southbound 75 toward Springwells, then all lanes will open back up," Cross says. "Or you can use Fort St., take that to Springwells, and use Springwells to get onto 75. So that’s going to help relieve a lot of congestion. You’ll be able to get on at Schaefer, too.”
Cross says MDOT has also completed are is close to finishing replacement of a dozen bridges on I-75 south of Detroit.
"On Goddard Road, we replaced that bridge with two smaller bridges. Those were totally demolished and rebuilt," Cross says. "And then we worked on 11 other bridges downriver, with Allen Road, Northline--West Road we had done in early 2017.”
The long and winding detour and the road more traveled
The closure of the Rouge River bridge has not been easy for people who live downriver. Traffic has been especially heavy on Fort St. since the project began nearly two years ago. That's because truck drivers largely ignored MDOT's posted detour. They were supposed to take I-96 west to I-275, then go south on I-275 to rejoin I-75 north of Monroe. Congestion on Fort St. eased significantly in August when MDOT reopened southbound I-75 at Outer Dr.
Just a little more to do
MDOT is still working on northbound I-75 between Clark and Springwells. Crews have been installing new drains where the freeway will eventually connect with the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Cross says that project will wrap up by the end of 2018 or in early 2019. Once all lanes are open in both directions, Cross says MDOT may have to close a few lanes to remove signage related to the project. But she says that will be done during off-peak travel hours.
Click on the audio player to hear Pat Batcheller's conversation with Diane Cross.
More from WDET:
MDOT is Closer to Finishing I-75 Bridge Project (August 2018)
Rouge River Bridge Project Reaches Halfway Point (Posted in 2017)
MDOT Says I-75 Over Rouge River Will Close in February (Posted in 2016)