Auburn Hills – — Michigan Department of Transportation work crews plan to start temporary repairs Saturday to an aging overpass that had to be shut Friday on Interstate 75 in Auburn Hills, officials said.
MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said crews will begin in the morning installing temporary supports under the University Drive overpass on I-75. Officials with the agency announced they were closing the overpass at 4 p.m. Friday due to safety concerns and expect to reopen it in about a week.
“We’re going to start with putting temporary supports under University Drive along the center pier of I-75 that holds up the bridge,” said MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross. “We’ve got some, but we have to have others manufactured.”
A problem with the overpass was discovered during a routine inspection of the bridge, which is about 50 years old, Cross said. “One of the inspectors noticed an area that needed closer examination,” she said. “When they did, that they discovered a fracture in one of the I-beam supports.”
As a result, all traffic on University Drive at the expressway is being detoured to I-75. Westbound traffic will be rerouted to the freeway’s northbound lanes and eastbound will be directed to the southbound lanes, she said. Lapeer Road, M-59 or other local roads can be used as alternatives, Cross said.
The overpass is a busy roadway that runs from the city of Pontiac to Squirrel Road and the campus of Oakland University.
More than 14,500 vehicles are estimated to travel its northeast-bound and southwest-bound lanes over I-75 every day, according to the most recent traffic count data from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
Oakland University posted a message on its website Friday advising students, faculty and staff to seek alternate routes.
“When we get it in a safe situation and we can reopen University Drive, then we need to study what the plan is for the bridge long-term, what funding is available and what the community wants done,” Cross said. “But first, we need to make it safe, then reopen it to traffic and figure out the next step.”