MDOT considers options for I-375 overhaul
Detroit — A land-use study is expected to determine how to move ahead with a planned overhaul of Interstate 375, Michigan Department of Transportation officials announced Monday.
A recent Planning and Environmental Linkages analysis by MDOT, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy found that a connection from the freeway to the city’s riverfront “is essential,” the agency said in a statement. But while six options being considered for a transformation “are still on the table,” a land-use study is the next step before a final decision is made.
“It is expected the land-use study will analyze opportunities such as additional neighborhood connectivity, improved gateway to the riverfront and further development potential,” the release said. There is no timetable for when that analysis will begin, said Kelby Wallace, a project manager with MDOT.
I-375 is a short connecter between downtown and Interstate 75. The six alternatives being considered range in cost from $40 million to $80 million.
Alternative one is to reconstruct mainline roads, service drives and bridges, including southbound ramps at Monroe and Lafayette, and Larned and East Jefferson, and would cost $60 million to $70 million.
Alternative two, which would cost $70 million to $80 million, incorporates the changes in alternative one, along with “a riverfront connection from East Jefferson to Atwater, with bikes lanes and pedestrian improvements,” bike lanes heading north and south on service drives, and “landscaped freeway slopes with storm water management.”
Alternative three would shift the reconstructed freeway to the west. To narrow freeway width, there would be a retaining wall on the service drive. The Jefferson curve would be eliminated, and there would be a riverfront connection from Jefferson to Atwater, along with bike lanes. Two acres of property on the south side of Jefferson could possibly be put to another use. That alternative would cost between $55 million and $65 million.
Alternative four would eliminate the southbound service drive, allowing for a possible new use for 9.3 acres of land on the south side of Jefferson and the west side of the I-375 corridor. There would be a riverfront connection from Jefferson to Atwater, but no bike lanes. The freeway would become a surface street at Clinton. Alternative four would cost from $40 million to $50 million.
Alternative five would transition the freeway to a surface street at Clinton, where it would be turned into a boulevard, replacing the southbound service drive. The northbound service drive would become a two-way local street with bike lanes. There would be a riverfront connection from Jefferson to Atwater with bike lanes, and it would leave about 8.5 acres on the south side of Jefferson and “along east side of corridor between boulevard and local street” available for another use. It would cost $45 million to $55 million.
The sixth alternative would replace the freeway with two, one-way roadways, beginning at Clinton. There would be buffered bike lanes on the one-way roadways, a riverfront connection from Jefferson to Atwater with a shared-use path. It would leave some 11.6 acres on the south side of Jefferson and between the northbound and southbound roadways available for another use, and would cost between $40 million and $50 million.
“Other pursuits that may influence future land-use options include the East Jefferson/Riverfront study by the RiverFront Conservancy, Eastern Market’s long-range plan, Brewster Douglass development and Gratiot as a bus rapid-transit route and its connection to I-375,” MDOT said in the release. “Recommendations from these activities will help guide future land-use options if the I-375 corridor is changed from its current below-grade freeway configuration.”
Staff Writer Mark Hicks contributed.