August 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tom Greenwood

M-1 Rail work to force first major Detroit freeway closure

The Michigan Department of Transportation has scheduled a fairly large freeway closure in downtown Detroit this weekend.

From 9 p.m. today until 5 a.m. Monday, MDOT crews will close all lanes of Interstate 94 between Interstate 75 and the Lodge Freeway (M-10) as part of the ongoing M-1 Rail project on Woodward.

The closure is needed so MDOT can drop the west half (southbound) lanes of the Woodward overpass over I-94.

During the shutdown, westbound I-94 motorists will be detoured to SB I-75 (Chrysler Freeway) to SB I-75 (Fisher Freeway) to WB I-96 and then back to I-94.

Eastbound I-94 motorists will be directed to EB I-96, then to northbound I-75 to NB I-75 and back onto EB I-94.

A single lane will remain open for local traffic on EB I-94 from I-96 to M-10. In addition, the NB and SB Lodge ramps to WB I-94 will be open.

Currently, Woodward has one lane open in each direction over I-94 but on the east side (northbound) lanes of the bridge. This traffic configuration will stay in effect until spring 2015.

Additionally, the John R entrance ramp to WB I-94, and the EB I-94 exit ramp to John R will be closed.

What’s that, you’re not sure just what the M-1 Rail project is?

The project — which is currently underway between Campus Martius and Adams — is the construction of a trolley car system that will eventually stretch about three miles from Hart Plaza to the New Center area.

It would be the first trolley car system in the city since the 1950s when Detroit ditched its light rail system for cars and buses.

Backers — including heavyweights Roger Penske, Dan Gilbert and Mike Ilitch — believe the electrically operated trolley system will spur development and jobs along its route.

Planners would eventually like to see the system stretch all the way to Eight Mile on Detroit’s northern border.

Once it’s completed in 2016 the M-1 system will have 20 stations serving 12 stops.

tgreenwood@detroitnews.com
(313) 222-2023