I-75 bridge demolition in Detroit to begin Friday



Plan a few extra minutes for your commute this weekend: A section I-75 between I-375 and the Lodge will be closed this weekend so M-1 Rail construction crews can demolish a portion of the Woodward Avenue freeway overpass in Detroit.

The closure will begin at 9 p.m. Friday, when crews will demolish the southbound lanes of the Woodward overpass. The road will likely reopen by 5 a.m. on Monday. 

M-1 Rail says motorists will be detoured as follows: Those heading northbound will be directed to westbound I-96, then to eastbound I-94, then back north on I-75. Anyone heading south will be directed to westbound I-94, eastbound I-96, then back onto southbound I-75. Ramps from the Lodge onto southbound I-75 will remain open.

Then, starting on Monday, I-75 will have three (only three!) lanes open in each direction under Woodward. The Clifford Street on-ramp to northbound I-75 will be closed to traffic until fall 2015, when bridge work is anticipated to be completed.

The west side of the Woodward overpass, as well as the I-75 service drives, won't be accessible to walkers and cyclists until bridge work is completed. M-1 Rail says pedestrians will need to cross Woodward at Sibley or Elizabeth streets to pass by. Once completed, work will begin on the east side of the overpass, and all traffic — pedestrians, cyclists and motorists — will need to utilize the west side of the bridge. 

Construction on the 3.3-mile M-1 Rail streetcar line began in July. When it's operational in late 2016 — officials say they're confident that target date is doable — it'll operate seven days a week, serving 12 stops along Woodward at 20 stations (16 along the curb, four in the center lane) from downtown to New Center. Also, the Michigan Department of Transportation is going to completely fix up Woodward in concert with the streetcar construction.

M-1 Rail officials say departures will occur every 7 to 10 minutes during peak hours; 12 to 15 minutes during off-peak hours. Six streetcars will be purchased for the transit line. It'll likely cost $1.50 per ride, with fare passes operating on a trust-system of sorts; as Matt Cullen, M-1 Rail president & CEO, put it, you'll buy the pass before the streetcar arrives. But, Cullen said, someone will occasionally drop in to ensure everyone has in fact paid.

And, although right now the project's website indicates the streetcar will stop running each night at 10 p.m., M-1 says the time could change depending on demand in the future

If you want to know more about the project, here's a link to a handy guide we cobbled together this past summer.