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Major road construction in 2021: 7 metro Detroit projects to know about


Prepare for a season of orange construction barrels and "road work ahead" signs. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing for a busy year with major construction projects on the way for 2021.

I-94 Modernization Project

A few years ago, MDOT started revitalizing parts of Interstate 94, with a focus on replacing 67 bridges and 7 miles of freeway, MDOT's website states. The bridge repairs will focus on structures between Conner Road and I-96.

This year, MDOT is replacing two major bridges at Brush Street and Second Avenue, said Diane Cross, spokeswoman for MDOT.

According to MDOT's website, the new Second Avenue bridge will accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and motor vehicles. LED architectural lighting will illuminate the bridge, and it'll be a network-tied-arch bridge.

According to the I-94 Modernization Project's website, a network tied-arch bridge refers to the cables that cross at the top of the bridge's arch and connect to the concrete tie girder, which is alongside the bridge's bottom. The estimated opening date for the bridge is fall 2021.

There'll also be more construction on bridges at Mt. Elliott Street, Milwaukee Avenue, and East Grand Boulevard.

I-96 Flex Route

To help clear traffic congestion and improve travel time, MDOT is building a flex lane from Kent Lake Road to the I-275, I-696, and M-5 interchange.

According to MDOT's website, the median shoulder of the road will be rebuilt as an additional lane during peak traffic hours, maintenance activities, and crashes. This project will add ramp metering at eight entrance ramps along the I-96 flex route.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, ramp metering is the installation of traffic signals on freeway on-ramps. The traffic signals control the frequency of vehicles entering the flow of traffic on the freeway.

MDOT is hoping to install an active traffic management system along the route. This includes lane control signs, message boards, cameras, speed advisories, and part-time median shoulder use, the state website said.

This project will also rebuild all eastbound, westbound, and shoulder lanes from Kent Lake Road to the I-275 interchange, MDOT states. Throughout this route, MDOT will rebuild ramps, except at Kent Lake Road, Wixom Road, and Beck Road.

Despite not being rebuilt, MDOT will do pavement repairs to the Wixom Road and Beck Road ramps, MDOT said. Officials also have plans to improve the Beck Road carpool lot through this project.

Construction is expected to start in fall 2021, MDOT states.

M-59 and Romeo Plank

The next major construction project in 2021 will be a heavy-duty gutting of the M-59 in Macomb. This two-year project will happen in two phases, with construction ultimately reaching I-94.

The first phase of the project will take place between Romeo Plank Road and Elizabeth Road. The second phase of construction will happen between Elizabeth Road and I-94.

"We're gonna pull out all the concrete, put down asphalt, fix sewer systems and lighting and pedestrian crosswalks," Cross said. "So that's one of our bigger projects on M-59 in Macomb."

Cross said MDOT will leave two lanes open in each direction during rush hour when it comes to M-59 construction. She said about 180,000 people drive on M-59 a day, and it has one of the largest non-freeway volumes of traffic.

M-3 Gratiot Avenue

This year, MDOT will do major work on M-3 on Gratiot Avenue, Cross said. MDOT will completely rebuild the road from 11 Mile to 14 Mile roads over two years.

"We're going to rip out everything, we're going down to the sand and going to work on sewers (and) rebuild that roadway with asphalt as well," Cross said. "Wherever we're in an area, we also make sure that the ramps and sidewalks are ADA compliant — American with Disabilities Act — and modernize the signals."

Cross said this is a big project that'll not only affect residents on Gratiot Avenue but businesses as well.

"We expect this to be a very high-profile project, and we're trying to reach out as much as we can to businesses and let residential and everybody know we're always going to leave two lanes open during primetime, morning and afternoon drive," Cross said. "If we have to go down to one lane, it'll only be during middays, nights, and weekends."

I-75 Modernization Project

Just like the I-94 Modernization Project, Interstate I-75 is about to get a makeover with a new diverging diamond interchange.

The I-75 project in Oakland County will go from 13 Mile to 8 Mile roads, which will affect ramps and leave two lanes open, Cross said.

According to the I-75 Modernization Project's website, officials are putting a diverging diamond intersection at Big Beaver and 14 Mile. By April, the new interchange is estimated to be fully usable.

Telegraph and 8 Mile Road

Later in the year, MDOT plans to reconstruct Telegraph Road, which will affect a few residential homes and businesses. Ramps may be closed down, but MDOT will keep two lanes open during the construction period.

A diverging diamond intersection will also replace the 8 Mile and Telegraph intersection.

"By putting in a diverging diamond, it's going to make that interchange much safer," Cross said. "Because we have a lot of crashes right now at Telegraph and 8Mile because of very short ramps, and it's also about a 50- to the 60-year-old intersection."

I-275 and Monroe County

From the Monroe County line to 5 Mile Road, MDOT will be doing some type of construction in this area, Cross said. This is a long-distance project with many different types of work.

"There'll be reconstruction where we tear up the roadway between 5 Mile down toward Eureka, but then as you go farther south, there's also concrete pavement repair that's going on," Cross said. "This is a two-year project. We're going to do a lot of work, including bridge work, through that long stretch but 275 is going to be tied up for a couple of years."

MDOT will always leave two lanes open during primetime morning and afternoon drives.

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