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Detroit — The concrete ceiling of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel will be replaced starting this summer, prompting the mile-long roadway to be closed during certain off-peak hours, officials said Thursday.

Neal Belitsky, president and CEO of the tunnel, said the project, which has an undetermined cost, will begin in May and conclude in December. Sometime in August, the tunnel will be closed 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday for the construction work on the ceiling, he said.

The tunnel’s ceiling is actually made of concrete slabs and the replacement of it will come in various prefabricated concrete panels that will be built off-site and brought in for the project, Belitsky said.

“On the tunnels that are designed like this, the ceiling has a lifespan. And before it gets to end of life, this is just a preventive, precautionary measure where we are replacing the ceiling,” Belitsky said. “We’ll be open on weekends. We’ll be open for our commuter rush in the morning. And the contractors are going to be advised that there are days due to special events that they won’t be able to work.”

Belitsky said the first stage of the project will generally be “behind the scenes work” that won’t interfere with the public or travel. The slow travel times in the tunnel are generally at night, he said.

Tunnel officials estimate the prefabricated panels could be 11-feet long, four-feet wide but that will ultimately be determined by the contractor. Belitsky said they are awaiting final bid proposals and expect to chose a contractor in April.

Belitsky said he is reluctant to reveal estimated costs of the project because a contractor hasn’t been selected.

“This is preventative,” he said. “It’s just like some things in your house, you want to get them before you have a problem, and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Detroit-Windsor tunnel was built in 1928 and 1929 and opened in 1930. Its length is 5,160 feet and can handle 2,000 vehicles per hour.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter: @leonardnfleming

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