M-1 Rail construction on fast track for ’15

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Proponents of the M-1 Rail system along Woodward said Thursday construction on the 3 1/2 mile long trolley car project is being pushed into high gear in 2015.

“There is going to be an immense amount of activity differentiation from 2014 to 2015,” said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail’s chief operating officer.

“There will be construction along Woodward in the North End/New Center, Midtown and downtown areas and starting on Monday, we will begin to install special curved tracks around Campus Martius.”

The M-1 Rail system around the park will also be unique because electrical wires that power the trollies will be located underground, unlike the rest of the line which will be connected to overhead lines.

In 2014 track construction took place from Adams to Gratiot. In 2015 the schedule calls for rail installation from Gratiot to Larned and from Adams to Interstate 75 in both the northbound and southbound lanes.

The 2015 schedule also calls for the construction of the Penske Tech Center (where the trolly cars will be stored and maintained), the complete reconstruction of Woodward as well as the I-75 and I-94 overpasses.

The Woodward reconstruction will include new sidewalks, landscaping, adjustable traffic lights (to avoid backups for traffic coming from downtown events) and mid-block crossovers complete with a pedestrian safety island in the middle of the avenue.

Traffic plans for the Midtown area will remain the same in 2015 as they were in 2014 with at least one lane of traffic open northbound and southbound along with a center turn lane.

The eye of the construction storm will be centered over Campus Martius, a popular downtown park.

“One lane of traffic will remain open around the park at all times as the specialty track is installed,” Childs said.

“And at least one of the four streets surrounding Campus Martius (Michigan, Cadillac Square, Fort and Monroe) will remain open at all times.

But while one lane of traffic will always be maintained around Campus Martius, there will be two occasions when sections of Woodward directly north and south of the park will be closed to traffic.

In early June northbound Woodward will be closed between the pedestrian island north of Campus Martius and Gratiot/State street. In late June southbound Woodward will be closed in the same area, completely closing the avenue to traffic.

Later in the summer a section of Woodward south of Campus Martius to Larned will be completely closed. Project managers intend to have Woodward back open to traffic (hopefully by October) in time for the Jazz Fest and the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For more construction information the project, as well as a list of frequently asked questions, visit the M-1 Rail website at

(313) 222-2023

I-696/I-94: In St. Clair Shores the ramps at the intersection will close intermittently on Saturday for repairs. The times are: EB I-696 to EB I-94 will close from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m.; WB I-94 to WB I-696 will close from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.; EB I-696 to WB I-94 will close from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and EB I-94 to EB I-696 will close from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Total closures.

I-75: In Auburn Hills the freeway will close at Walton for 15 minutes between 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. for utility work.

I-75: In Independence Township the freeway will close for 15 minutes between Sasabaw and Clarkston roads between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. for utility work.

I-75: In Ortonville SB will have two lanes closed between M-15 and Clintonville from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. Monday for repairs.

I-75: In Hazel Park NB and SB under Eight Mile will have a moving double lane closure from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday for bridge inspections.

I-75: In Madison Heights 12 Mile has lane closures at the freeway through May 30 for bridge repairs.

M-59: In Pontiac EB and WB will have nightly lane closures between Widetrack and Crooks from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for road work.

M-59: In Clinton Township EB and WB will have nightly lane closures from Elizabeth Road to I-94 from 9 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday for road repairs.

M-97 (Groesbeck): In Highland Township the road will have single lane closures at M-59 from 9 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. Monday for road repairs.

M-39 (Southfield Fwy): In Allen Park and Detroit NB and SB will have moving lane closures between Ford Road and McNichols from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday for road repairs.