After nearly two years of construction, drivers heading Downriver from Detroit have a nearly problem-free commute on southbound Interstate 75.

On Thursday, Michigan Department of Transportation reopened one lane of the freeway from Interstate 96 to Springwells a day ahead of schedule.

The department had anticipated that the stretch would reopen by 9 a.m. Friday as progress on the multi-year Interstate 75 Rouge River project advanced.

A drive along the highway late Thursday found clear lanes after Springwells and little traffic. That could change as drivers take advantage of the newly replaced road during rush hour.

As part of the project, the southbound lanes had been closed for almost two years for nearly eight miles, from Springwells in Detroit to Northline in Southgate, forcing drivers to find alternate routes to reach Downriver destinations.

In late August, MDOT officials reopened southbound I-75 from Outer Drive on the Detroit/Lincoln Park border to Sibley Road to the south.

The project still requires work that could affect motorists, though.

Work expected to be completed by early December, depending on the weather, includes work on 11 Downriver bridges. Concrete and sewer replacement work between Clark and Springwells also is expected to wrap by end of the year or early 2019, weather permitting, MDOT said.

Work already completed includes replacement of the concrete on the Rouge River bridge and reconstruction of the Goddard Road bridges.

According to MDOT, the posted detour includes westbound I-96 to southbound Interstate 275, then southbound I-75. Expect backups with the one local lane reopened from I-96 to Springwells.

The southbound I-75 service drive will have two lanes open to access the Springwells entrance ramp to southbound I-75. Also, motorists on Fort Street can use Springwells Street to re-enter southbound I-75. The Schaefer Highway ramp to southbound I-75 also will be reopened.

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