Slone Terranella

| Detroit Free Press

Prepare for a season of orange construction barrels and signs saying “Road Works Ahead”. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing for a busy year of major construction projects in 2021.

I-94 modernization project

Several years ago, MDOT began revitalizing portions of Interstate 94, with an emphasis on replacing 67 bridges and 7 miles of freeway, the MDOT website says. The bridge repairs are focused on structures between Conner Road and I-96.

This year, MDOT will replace two major bridges on Brush Street and Second Avenue, said MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross.

According to the MDOT website, the new Second Avenue bridge will accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles. LED architectural lighting illuminates the bridge and it is a network bridge.

According to the I-94 Modernization Project website, a tied arch network bridge refers to the cables that cross at the top of the bridge arch and connect to the concrete anchor located next to the bottom of the bridge. The expected opening date for the bridge is autumn 2021.

There will also be more construction work for bridges on the mountain. Elliott Street, Milwaukee Avenue, and East Grand Boulevard.

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I-96 Flex Route

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

According to the MDOT website, the middle roadside will be rebuilt as an additional lane during rush hour, maintenance, and accidents. This project will add a ramp measurement on eight entry ramps along the I-96 flex route.

According to the US Department of Transportation, ramp measurement is the installation of traffic signals on freeway entrances. The traffic signals control the frequency of vehicles entering the traffic flow on the motorway.

MDOT hopes to install an active traffic management system along the route. These include lane control signs, message boards, cameras, speed indicators, and average shoulder use part-time, the state website says.

Install an Active Traffic Management System (Flex Lane) on I-96 from Kent Lake Road to the I-275 / I-696 / M-5 intersection, including:

Portals, lane control signs, message boards, cameras and detection enable part-time use of the middle shoulder at peak times, offer queue warnings and information on variable speed and facilitate incident management.

This project will also rebuild all east, west and shoulders lanes from Kent Lake Road to the I-275 interchange, MDOT states. MDOT will rebuild ramps during this route, except on Kent Lake Road, Wixom Road and Beck Road.

Although MDOT will not be rebuilt, MDOT will repair the Wixom Road and Beck Road road ramps, MDOT said. Officials also have plans to improve carpooling on Beck Road through this project.

According to MDOT, construction is expected to start in autumn 2021.

M-59 and Romeo Plank

The next major construction project in 2021 will be a high-capacity gutting of M-59 in Macomb. This two-year project will be carried out in two phases, with construction eventually reaching I-94.

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

“We’re going to be pulling out all the concrete, shedding asphalt, fixing sewer systems and lighting and pedestrian crossings,” Cross said. “This is one of our bigger projects for M59 in Macomb.”

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

M-3 Gratiot Avenue

This year, MDOT will be doing major work on the M-3 on Gratiot Avenue, Cross said. MDOT will completely rebuild the road from 11 Mile to 14 Mile Road within two years.

“We’re going to tear everything up, we’re going to go in the sand and work on sewers and rebuild this road with asphalt as well,” Cross said. “Wherever we are in an area, we’re also making sure the ramps and sidewalks are ADA – American with Disabilities Act – and we’re modernizing the signals.”

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

“We expect this to be a very high profile project and we are trying to reach as much business as possible and let the residential properties and everyone know that in prime time we will always keep two lanes open in the mornings and afternoons,” said Cross. If we have to go on a trail, it will only be at noon, at night and on weekends. “

I-75 modernization project

Just like the I-94 modernization project, Interstate I-75 is facing a makeover with a new divergent diamond swap.

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

According to the I-75 Modernization Project website, officials at Big Beaver and 14 Mile Roads are putting a divergent diamond intersection. The new exchange is expected to be fully usable by April.

Telegraph and 8 Mile Road

Later in the year, MDOT plans to rebuild Telegraph Road, which will affect some homes and businesses. Ramps can be closed, but MDOT will keep two lanes open during construction.

A diverging diamond intersection also replaces the 8 Mile and Telegraph Roads intersection.

“Putting in a divergent diamond actually makes this exchange much safer,” said Cross. “Because we have a lot of accidents at Telegraph and Eight Mile because of very short ramps and it is also a 50 to 60 year old crossroad.”

I-275 and Monroe County

From the Monroe County line to Five Mile Road, MDOT will be doing construction in that area, Cross said. This is a remote project with many different types of work.

“There will be a rebuild where we will completely demolish the road between Five Mile and Eureka, but if you go further south there will be repairs to concrete pavement, too,” Cross said. “This is a two year project. We’ll be doing a lot of work on this long stretch, including bridge work, but 275 will be tied for a couple of years.”

MDOT always leaves two lanes open during the morning and afternoon trips during prime time.

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Cross said the biggest goal in repairing or upgrading roads is safety.

“All of the latest and greatest that we know now goes into the current project we’re doing on one of those roads and we hope it will be the safest,” said Cross. “That really is the goal for everything is security.”

Contact Slone Terranella at and follow her on Twitter @SloneTerranella.

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