The Michigan Department of Transportation is gearing up for a major construction project along Interstate 275. Several communities will be impacted by the roadwork, which will stretch roughly 24 miles.
Diane Cross is a spokesperson for MDOT. She spoke with WDET’s Tia Graham about the I-275 revitalization project.
Diane Cross, MDOT: This is part of the Rebuilding Michigan funding. And because we were able to get that money, we were able to combine a lot of smaller projects that would have been done over many years throughout this 24-mile stretch again, Will Carleton to Six Mile. By having that Rebuilding Michigan money, we’re able to pull all this ahead and do it in one project. And so that has helped us and then that freed up money that can go to other work that needs to be done.
Tia Graham, WDET: So I-275 is going to have construction present for a while. What can travelers expect from this project overall?
So throughout that entire 24-mile stretch, we’re going to have a lot of different work going on. We’re going to reconstruct part of the roadway, take it all the way down to the sand. Other parts, we’re going to do concrete patching to repair the roadway. It’s still salvageable, so we can just do repairs, as opposed to spending the money to rebuild all of it. We’re going to work on 65 bridges that need maintenance work and repairs done to them. We’re not rebuilding any of those bridges, but we’re gonna affect 65 of them through that 24-mile route. And it will be up to the contractor as to when the project is started. It should not be any earlier than late June, probably early July before we get work going. And we expect to keep two lanes open at the north end of the job from Six Mile to roughly the 94 area, then 94 down to Will Carleton. At times it will be down to just one lane, with a little bit lighter traffic down at that south end heading toward Monroe. The heaviest traffic volumes are as you head up near Six Mile where we can have up to 130,000 drivers a day using the roadway.
“There will be a few times throughout this project, which is roughly four years long, it’s going to take four years to do all of this work, so it’s really one of the biggest projects we’ve ever done.” —Diane Cross, MDOT
What about access to the airport? What should travelers be on the lookout for especially in that area?
So there’s going to be a lot of folks not only that live throughout this entire 24-mile stretch, but also take it to work. But also maybe only travel it occasionally because they’re heading to the airport. And we’re going to do our best to always keep access to the airport open. There will be a few times throughout this project, which is roughly four years long, it’s going to take four years to do all of this work, so it’s really one of the biggest projects we’ve ever done. And there will be times when ramps have to be closed, including ramps to 75 to East 94 for about six weeks. When we do that, we’ll make sure and send out lots of notice, put up signs to let people know to use 275 to Eureka. And when we’re having to work on 275 near Eureka we’ll redirect traffic as well, so drivers know that 94 might be a better option. So we’ll always keep the airport in mind on this.
What are some other future projects that travelers can expect to see in the next coming months or even years?
Thursday, June 10, we have a virtual meeting for 696. There’s going to be a project, it’s not going to start for a couple of years, well, late 2022. We’re going to work on 696 between 275 and Lahser. So that’s an entirely long stretch for drivers who are coming up on 96, and then you’re trying to make your way towards Southfield or further east. So it’s going to be a big project. And we’re going to talk about that on Thursday, June 10. People can start to hear about some of the work that’s going to happen along that because again, that’s going to be a really big one affecting 696. But we’ve been just patching that for the last few years and it’s time to rebuild that roadway.
Listen: What travelers can expect during the four-year construction project on I-275.