Input sought on overhaul of I-375 in downtown Detroit
Commuters, residents and others in the community have a chance Wednesday to weigh in on proposed plans to overhaul Interstate 375 in Detroit.
State Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the six proposed alternatives being considered for the freeway and city riverfront connectivity, her office said. The event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in Chrysler Elementary School, 1445 E. Lafayette.
The lawmaker is expected to be joined by officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation, which has been involved in the planned redesign.
The aim of the town hall is to provide an update as well as give the public a chance to ask questions and offer feedback on the alternatives, Chang said.
“It’s really important that our government hear from people directly about which ones they prefer, which ones they don’t like, what their concerns are,” she said. “I would encourage people to come out and stay engaged. Whatever the decision will be, it will have a pretty big impact on many of our neighborhoods.”
I-375 connects downtown and Interstate 75. An 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 has said.
“The I-375 corridor was built in the 1960’s and is in need of rehabilitation,” said a report prepared under the City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and MDOT. “In particular, the structures carrying city streets over I-375 are in various states of disrepair, with at least two requiring near-term replacement or significant overhaul.”
The I-375 Alternatives Study worked to explore transportation infrastructure options. Technical analyses, input from an advisory committee, public feedback and recommendations from a public agency-led group helped shape the six alternatives, MDOT said.
The proposed project is expected to address issues such as deteriorated bridges crossing I-375, poor connectivity and confusing access to downtown destinations and congestion along nearby Jefferson Avenue, officials said.
The six alternatives being considered:
■ Alternative one proposes improving/widening the southbound off-ramps at Lafayette and Larned/East Jefferson, reconstruct mainline roads and rebuild a bridge. Estimated cost is $60 million to $70 million.
■ Alternative two, which would cost $70 million to $80 million, incorporates the changes in alternative one, along with a “roadway extension from the Jefferson Avenue surface-level extending to Atwater Street to serve the East Riverfront area.” Bike lanes as well as landscape plantings and stormwater management would be added.
■ Under alternative three, the freeway would transition to a surface street south of Lafayette, and include intersections at Larned and Jefferson. The stretch would continue through Jefferson Avenue to Atwater, with two lanes in each direction. The freeway part would be shifted to the west. To narrow freeway width, there would be a retaining wall. Some property south of Jefferson could possibly be reused. Cost: between $55 million and $65 million.
■Alternative four would eliminate service drives, transition the freeway to a surface street with four lanes in each direction south of Gratiot, coming to an intersection near Clinton. The roadway would continue south of Jefferson to Atwater with two lanes in each direction. Estimated cost $40 million to $50 million.
■ Alternative five includes a surface road with four lanes in each direction from south of Gratiot but would be aligned along the west side. The stretch would continue south of Jefferson to Atwater with two lanes each way, while the northbound service drive becomes a two-way local access road. Some land also could be reused. . Cost: $45 million to $55 million.
■ The sixth alternative would change the stretch south of Gratiot to two one-ways, aligned with existing service drives, with four lanes in each direction. It would continue south of Jefferson to Atwater with two lanes in each direction. Estimated cost: between $40 million and $50 million.
MDOT has said a land-use study would be needed before a final decision is made.