Detroit, MDOT get funds to redesign Michigan Avenue red brick pavers in Corktown

Construction is expected to begin in 2024

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 08: A view of downtown from the historic Corktown neighborhood on April 8, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Detroit Department of Transportation buses will begin distributing surgical masks to riders. Over 20,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state. (Photo by Elaine Cromie/Getty Images) (Elaine Cromie, 2020 Getty Images)

The state of Michigan has been awarded a $25 million grant to help rebuild infrastructure around Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, soon to be home to the Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor (DMIC).

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the award of a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and City of Detroit for the DMIC.

The project’s scope is to construct a shared use corridor along approximately 2 miles of US-12 (Michigan Avenue) that will include non-motorized facilities, installation of new dedicated transit, and connected and autonomous vehicle lanes.

The project also includes carefully removing, restoring, and reincorporating red brick pavers into other aspects of the roadway’s design in this portion of Michigan Avenue while new red concrete pavers will be placed in the historically designated limits to maintain the corridor’s unique feel.

The red brick along Michigan Avenue has been a Corktown staple for decades, and residents have fought previous efforts to remove or pave over the bricks.

Including engineering, construction, and contingency costs, the estimated total cost for the DMIC is $50 million with $42.7 million going toward the State portion of Michigan Avenue, and $7.32 million going toward the city’s portion within the project limits. MDOT is committed to contributing $22.7 million toward the overall project costs, or 45 percent of the total.

Public meetings were held in 2020-21 to consider the environmental, historical, cultural, and feasibility issues early in the transportation planning process.  By creating a safer multi-modal corridor, the project will support efficient and accessible public transit while encouraging low or no-carbon transportation modes. These changes also will also better connect residents who do not or cannot drive to economic opportunities and public services along the corridor

The project limits extend from M-1 (Woodward Avenue) in downtown’s Campus Martius Plaza to the I-96 overpass on the western edge of the Corktown neighborhood. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.

“Today, Michigan’s economic momentum continued to build as the Michigan Department of Transportation won a prestigious $25 million RAISE grant,” said Governor Whitmer. “This investment will make Michigan Avenue through Corktown more accessible, facilitating ongoing residential and commercial development in the area. Getting this done will create and support good-paying construction and auto-related jobs and ensure that Michigan continues leading the future of mobility. Our leadership in this space continues to grow, building on our legendary Motor City roots. Not far from this new, high-tech corridor, Ford and Google are turning the historic Michigan Central Station into a hub for advanced mobility entrepreneurs, a new wireless charging road for electric vehicles is being built, and all around Lake Michigan, we are installing electric vehicle chargers, to create the best clean energy road trip in America. Michigan is on the move, and every region of our state is creating good-paying jobs and building the future of mobility. We will continue winning competitive grants, growing our economy, and moving Michigan forward.”

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.