Southbound I-75 to close for 2 years starting Feb. 4 between Detroit and Downriver

I-75 Rouge River bridge concrete to be replaced

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Artist's rendition of I-75 Rouge River bridge. (MDOT)

DETROIT - Get ready for one of the biggest freeway closures Metro Detroit has seen in recent years. 

A two-year closure of I-75 between Detroit and Downriver will start the weekend of Feb. 4. The Michigan Department of Transportation's $200 million construction project includes replacing all of the concrete on the I-75 Rouge River bridge, the largest concrete surface in the state of Michigan, according to MDOT. 

MDOT says the project includes:

  • 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.

Drivers should expect southbound I-75 to remain closed for two years -- northbound I-75 will remain open at all times, MDOT said. 

The transportation department listed these reasons for shutting down one direction: 

  • Speed: Rebuilding one side of the bridge at a time without traffic present will result in the project being completed in the shortest amount of time.
  • Cost: The shorter project duration resulting from rebuilding one side of bridge at a time will result in the lowest overall project cost.
  • Safety: If the bridge was constructed in sections with both directions of traffic sharing one side, there wouldn't be adequate room for emergency crews to respond to incidents on the bridge.
  • Mobility: Maintaining limited two-way traffic on one side of freeway would cause back-ups in both directions, as opposed to one direction.  
  • Quality: Rebuilding one side of the bridge at a time will allow construction to proceed without interruption since there will be no need to maintain traffic. The decreased vibrations from nearby traffic will result in the best quality workmanship.
  • Duration: By closing southbound I-75, construction activity will move faster since not as much time and effort will be needed to shift traffic.

Watch a recent Local 4 report on the project here

MDOT's detour:

The detour route is southbound I-75 to westbound I-96, then southbound I-275 to southbound I-75 in Monroe. Other alternate routes include I-94, M-85 (Fort Street), Jefferson Avenue, and Dix Highway.

Detour for 2017:

Detour for 2018: 

View more detour information here.

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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