MDOT hosting meeting on I-94 widening in Detroit


The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will host an open house Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on a proposed project to widen I-94 in Detroit between Connor Avenue and I-96, along with utility and bridge replacements in the 6.7-mile stretch. 

The project has drawn the ire of transit activists opposed to widening I-94's footprint any further. MDOT has said the project is needed to curb congestion and improve roadway safety, though opponents say there's little to suggest the $2.9 billion project would accomplish either.  
The project is slated to begin in 2019.

MDOT says the project will cost $1.9 billion in 2013 dollars, but, with an estimated 3 percent annual inflation rate over the next two decades, the total jumps to about $2.9 billion. That timespan corresponds to how long MDOT expects to have orange barrels splattered across the corridor: twenty years. The estimated completion date is late 2036.

To finance the project, MDOT says the feds would pay 81.5 percent of the estimated $2.9 billion price tag, while the state would cover the remainder. The City of Detroit, through local road funding appropriated by the state, would cover 12.5 percent of Michigan's portion — roughly $70.68 million.

Critics have long opposed a plan to add an additional lane in each direction of the highway, widening it from six to eight lanes in sum; MDOT now says it's still analyzing whether additional space is needed. As MT previously reported, the idea that congestion would be alleviated along I-94 as a result of an additional lane is a questionable claim, at best. 

The meeting will be held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, located at 4800 Woodward Avenue in Detroit.