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For Metro Detroit drivers, there’s lots of roadwork ahead in 2021

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Metro Detroit drivers should expect plenty of orange kegs, backups and detours this year as the Michigan Department of Transportation embarks on an ambitious $ 2 billion initiative to modernize some of the area’s busiest roads.

While Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s oft-cited goal of “fixing the damn roads” has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a tumultuous political environment, MDOT has been busy planning projects that will start construction in earnest in the spring.

Last month, an M-3 / Gratiot road project was unveiled that is expected to cost $ 60 million in Macomb County. A virtual public meeting was held on February 3rd to rebuild M-59 (Hall Road) in the townships of Clinton, Macomb, Harrison, and Chesterfield. Over the next two years, $ 63 million of planned road improvements were made to Romeo Plank Road to Interstate 94.

A public meeting will be held on February 22nd to provide an overview of how work on this north-south artery will affect Interstate 275 in the Ash, Canton, Huron, and Van Buren communities of Wayne County. Livonia; Plymouth; and Romulus.

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“There will be several large projects that will take one, two and three years to complete,” said MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross. “And dozens of other smaller projects that will take a few months, weeks, or weekends.”

Cross said the money for 15 major projects came from Whitmer’s $ 1.3 billion Rebuilding Michigan program and $ 700,000 from the MDOT budget over the next four years.

The I-275 project involves replacing and rebuilding 24 miles between Will Carleton Road and Six Mile in Wayne County in six phases over three years.

It includes 10 miles of concrete pavement repairs, 14 miles of concrete pavement rebuilding, asphalt refurbishment of four intersections, concrete paving rebuilding of parts or all six intersections, improvements to 65 bridges and a retaining wall.

Among other things, there are road works that should lead to delays and detours.

– Later that year, a section of the Eight Mile was upgraded to I-696. This is part of the ongoing work to upgrade I-75 in Oakland County

– Extensive work along Gratiot in Macomb County from 11 to 14 miles over the next two years

– Refurbishment of Telegraph Road between Grand River and Eight Mile, including a deviating Diamond Crossing, to improve road safety and reduce accidents.

Some innovative road works include turning portions of the mean freeway on I-96 between Kent Lake Road and the I-275, I-696 and M-5 junctions into a flexible lane during rush hour.

“A lane will open between 6 am and 9 am to the east and between 3 and 7 pm to the west,” Cross said.

“The days of highway widening are over,” said Cross. “We will use existing footprints.”

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Dusty Kennedy