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Motorists will have to wait longer for northbound Interstate 75 between 13 Mile and Coolidge Highway in Oakland County to return to its pre-construction configuration, officials said.

The freeway's switch has been delayed until late December because of weather and additional work, the Michigan Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

Initially, the switch was scheduled to happen by Thanksgiving but crews have lost roughly 60 days of production since March 1 due to adverse weather, it said.

"This delay is not due to lack of effort," Sue Datta, MDOT senior project manager for segment 2 of the I-75 modernization project, said in a statement. "On average, between contractors, laborers and MDOT personnel, we had close to 200 people working on this job daily in various areas over the 9-mile work zone. No other project compares in complexity and scope to this complete infrastructure replacement."

Both directions of I-75 are currently sharing the freeway's southbound side, separated by a temporary concrete barrier between 13 Mile and Coolidge Highway. Two lanes are open in both directions.

The process to move northbound traffic onto northbound lanes and opening additional lanes will be completed in stages starting this month, according to MDOT. Before northbound traffic can be switched over, crews need to complete ramp work and some mainline paving. 

Over the winter, crews will work on a sound wall near Wattles Road on northbound I-75 that was not included in the original contract, officials said. As a result, a lane of the freeway will be closed between Big Beaver to Wattles roads during the winter months. Crews will also start preparations for the reconstruction of the southbound lanes in 2020.

The work on I-75 is part of a $224 million project that involves reconstructing more than eight miles of pavement, improving 18 structures, upgrading drainage, constructing noise walls and the ongoing construction of an additional travel lane between Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile. 

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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