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Royal Oak — After months of construction, road workers began the process of reopening 8.5 miles of the northbound Interstate 75 on Friday as part of the $224 million Oakland County modernization project.

The construction, which began in March, will reopen northbound three lanes of the freeway, with the exception of I-75 being taken down to two lanes from Big Beaver to Wattles for the building of a noise wall during the winter months, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

MDOT officials say, meanwhile, they expect to have all lanes open on the southbound side by New Year's Day, but for now, southbound will be reduced to one lane starting Friday. Construction crews are removing nine miles of a temporary concrete barrier wall and restriping the freeway.

After the removal process is complete on the southbound lanes, all exit and entrance ramps will reopen around New Year's Day, said MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi.

"To accomplish this task requires a detailed process considering the 8.5 miles in length this segment stretches," Morosi said. "We consider it imperative to get traffic in its normal configuration leading into the winter months for safety of the workers and the motoring public."

The I-75 modernization project includes reconstructing more than eight miles of pavement in each direction between Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile as well as upgrading drainage, and the construction of an additional travel lane and noise walls.

MDOT reported last month that contractor paving crews will have to replace portions of the I-75 modernization project after the wrong concrete mix was used. MDOT inspection teams discovered the error while inspecting the left two lanes of northbound I-75 from 13 1/2 Mile to 14 Mile and the exit ramp shoulders to Big Beaver and Rochester roads. 

This work was advertised as a two-year project to rebuild I-75 between 13 Mile and Coolidge Highway. This year focused on rebuilding northbound; 2020 will rebuild southbound.

In order to keep the freeway open during construction, two-way traffic shares one bound of the freeway with traffic separated by a temporary concrete barrier.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter: @leonardnfleming

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