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What to expect as southbound I-75 closes for the next two years

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced earlier this week that southbound I-75 in Detroit will be closed for construction starting tomorrow.

The highway will be closed for two years as improvements are made to the Rouge River bridge, as well as several smaller bridges and the implementation of intelligent transportation system (ITS) equipment.

Northbound I-75 will not be significantly affected, although a single lane will be closed at times.

The project will cost approximately $200 million. MDOT says that closing SB I-75 for two years will make the project faster, cheaper, and safer:

The decision to close one direction of I-75 is based on multiple factors, including: Speed: Rebuilding one side of the bridge at a time without traffic present will result in the project being completed in the shortest amount of time. Cost: The shorter project duration resulting from rebuilding one side of bridge at a time will result in the lowest overall project cost. Safety: If the bridge was constructed in sections with both directions of traffic sharing one side, there wouldn't be adequate room for emergency crews to respond to incidents on the bridge. Mobility: Maintaining limited two-way traffic on one side of freeway would cause back-ups in both directions, as opposed to one direction. Quality: Rebuilding one side of the bridge at a time will allow construction to proceed without interruption since there will be no need to maintain traffic. The decreased vibrations from nearby traffic will result in the best quality workmanship. Duration: By closing southbound I-75, construction activity will move faster since not as much time and effort will be needed to shift traffic.

Multiple detours are set for the duration of the project. An MDOT spokesperson said that these detours will add about 25 miles to drivers’ commutes.

The first detour will be in place for the rest of 2017, and another will be implemented in early 2018.

The latest updates  on detours and other information about the project can be found at 75rougeriver.com.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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