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Men leaning on shovels

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If you’re planning a weekend trip into, through or out of Detroit, brush up on your navigational skills. Summer highway closures are leaving many lost, dazed and (in our case, anyway) confused. Following a few complaints (including one from a News Hitter who wandered for what seemed like hours looking for a shortcut to the Lodge from downtown), we sleuthed to determine what the heck’s going on round downtown, and here’s what we found out (the information isn’t hard to find as long as you are not behind the wheel of a car): Until Sept. 12, the Lodge Freeway will be closed from Interstate 75 to Cobo Hall. Until late October, bridge and roadwork will cause occasional closings as the state Department of Transportation “rebuilds” the Lodge, says Rob Morosi, MDOT spokesman. Interstate 75 downriver also is being rebuilt, he says, and Interstate 94 will be under construction on and off until 2006, when the spine-spindling asphalt is expected to become “a smooth ride,” says Morosi. While the highway construction seems to be a sinister conspiracy to drive drivers daft, Morosi says no way. In fact, the closures are planned carefully.

“There are a lot of things taken into account that the public doesn’t realize,” says Morosi. “We don’t just blindly go into these projects.” We sense a joke in there somewhere. Either we’re bitchin’ about how bad the damned potholed pavement is, or we’re complaining about all the hassles when the construction barricades materialize just when we’re most in a hurry. Which is why we often find ourselves sitting in traffic, contemplating the exhaust-aided vision of a real mass-transit system with light-rail trains zipping us near and far.

Until that dream becomes manifest, you can get info on weekend closings by calling 1-800-641-MDOT, or go to the information superhighway, www.fixdetroit6.com, to get data and e-mail alerts.

Lisa M. Collins is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail lcollins@metrotimes.com

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