I-75 Rouge River project update: 1 local lane opening on southbound I-75 from I-96 to Springwells

Construction workers on the I-75 River Rouge Bridge on July 17, 2017. (WDIV)

DETROIT - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) offered a quick I-75 Rouge River Bridge construction project update on Monday. 

The $220 million bridge project that got underway in 2017 involves removing and replacing concrete on the Rouge River Bridge. Work also includes removing and rebuilding the Goddard Road bridges and repairs on 11 other Downriver bridges.

The southbound side of the I-75 bridge has been shut down to traffic since February 2017. Right now, there is a local lane on southbound I-75 that allows drivers to travel to Livernois Avenue.

Starting 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 drivers will be able to take that local lane all the way to Springwells Street. 

The detour

MDOT said the southbound I-75 service drive will have two lanes open to access the Springwells Street entrance ramp to southbound I-75. Also, drivers on M-85 (Fort Street) can access Springwells Street to re-enter southbound I-75. The Schaefer Highway ramp to southbound I-75 will also be reopened.

The official detour remains westbound I-96 to southbound I-275, then southbound I-75. 

This map from MDOT (click here) shows the southbound I-75 route is closed from I-96 all the way through the West Outer Drive exit/entrance. This route is expected to closed -- except for the one local lane -- until the end of the year or early 2019. It all depends on the weather, per usual. 

I-75 Rouge River Bridge project details:

  • Removing and replacing all concrete on the I-75 Rouge River bridge, the largest concrete surface in Michigan (approximately 20 football fields).
  • Replacing concrete on the I-75 bridge at Fort Street, south of Springwells Road.
  • Removing the Goddard Street bridge over I-75 and replacing it with two smaller bridges.
  • Repairing 13 other bridges along I-75 through the Downriver communities.
  • Adding intelligent transportation system (ITS) equipment. ITS includes a combination of electronic, telecommunication and information technology MDOT uses to improve safety and travel times on the transportation system.

MDOT: Strategic rehab of bridge over 40 years has saved $250 million

The I-75 Rouge River bridge is 49 years old. The 1.63-mile bridge is about 20 football fields in length, MDOT said, and it carries about 37 million vehicles each year. You may be wondering why MDOT hasn't decided to replace the entire structure. That would cost too much, the department said. 

"A new bridge costs nearly $400 million. By strategically rehabilitating the bridge over the past 40 years Michigan has saved $250 million."

So here's what has been done in the past 40 years, according to MDOT: 

 

There have been several large holes in the bridge concrete over at least the past 5 years. Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit have been there to show the damage -- here's some of it:

March 19, 2014 -- Crews work to repair large hole on I-75 Rouge River Bridge

June 10, 2014 -- Crews make repairs to hole in bridge on SB I-75 at Goddard Road

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