By SCOTT BRENT
For the Sunday Times
TAYLOR – The Michigan Department of Transportation updated the public on the ongoing repairs to I-75, along with its scheduled plans to improve 13 bridges across the Detroit-Downriver connection at an open house-style meeting Jan. 23 at City Hall.
MDOT began the $220 million project in February 2017 and projects it will be completed in early November this year. The re-entry point for I-75 will be moved farther south to the southbound Telegraph Road connector. Southbound I-75 traffic will continue to be detoured until 2018, while northbound traffic will not be affected.
The work will include:
• Pavement repair from the Rouge River to Sibley Road.
• Removing the I-75 bridge over Goddard Road and constructing two smaller bridges.
• Replacing the Rouge River Bridge deck on I-75 and the I-75 bridge over Fort Street.
• Repairing another 11 bridges, with work ranging from deck replacement to widening.
• Adding intelligent transportation systems, such as traffic signals and speed cameras.
• Pavement repair from Springwells Street to Clark Avenue.
Project consultants were available to answer the public’s questions on why the estimated cost in 2017 increased from $165 million to $220 million, and how the recent shut down of the southbound lanes will affect their driving plans and efforts for first-responders to get to emergency sites quickly.
“The project grew to include additional work while the freeway was closed,” said Diane Cross, MDOT Commincations Officer of the Metro Region. “The additional 11 bridges being rehabbed was a future project that was moved up to this year. The work replacing concrete and major sewer work between Clark and Springwells was combined.
“Whenever we possibly can, we try to combine work in order to minimize impact on drivers, although that isn’t always possible.”
Cross also said there is not a special route for emergency responders, and drivers wanting to use southbound I-75 are advised to use southbound Telegraph, which puts traffic onto the freeway near Sibley, and is another re-entry point for cars and trucks.
Bill Erben, an MDOT construction manager, addressed the desire for consistent signs across the expressway.
“It is important to remember that signs do reach the end of their service life, and may be hard to see at night,” Erben said. “We are fortunate to be able to replace these signs easily due to our statewide replacement program, which minimizes costs and ensures safety.”
MDOT traffic engineer Matt Hickman told residents that MDOT constantly is in communication with first-responders in the event of an emergency.
“The police are always informed by us when there is a lane closure and what detours are the most preferable to take,” Hickman said.
Further details on the project, as well as information on planning a travel route can be found at www.michigan.gov/mdot.
(Scott Brent can be reached at [email protected])