The Gratiot Avenue traffic bridge that crosses Interstate 94 will undergo significant repairs between March and November as part of a three-year plan to replace, repair or remove aging automobile and pedestrian crossings.

The Gratiot Avenue traffic bridge that crosses Interstate 94 will undergo significant repairs between March and November as part of a three-year plan to replace, repair or remove aging automobile and pedestrian crossings.

Photo by Deb Jacques


MDOT lays out plans for I-94 overpass work

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published March 2, 2018

DETROIT — The Michigan Department of Transportation welcomed residents from Detroit’s east side to a presentation and Q&A session at the New Mount Carmel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ regarding planned construction work on several overpasses and bridges over Interstate 94.

The meeting took place Feb. 27. MDOT representatives took those in attendance through a series of displays outlining the planned work and the project’s timeline.

“Knowledge is the key to safety,” said Rob Morosi, a communications specialist with MDOT. “People can understand how to cross Gratiot safely and with less frustration. We want people to know what to expect, but we also want to give them a timeline. We know this project will be inconvenient, but this way people know they will be reopened again by the holiday season.”

The Rev. Raymond Scott, the minister of New Mount Carmel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, said the roadwork is part of an important step in improvements of infrastructure, safety and development in Detroit.

“This work is a long time coming,” said Scott. “We’re glad the state is taking notice. The need is vital. I think this work will mean an increase of safety, decrease traffic (jams) in the area, and ingress and egress from the freeway will be more direct.”

The project is being split into three phases or “packages.” The first package will include work in 2018 repairing road bridges over Chene Street and Gratiot Avenue, as well as removing three unusable pedestrian bridges crossing I-94. The Gratiot crossing will only be closed one half at a time, while those crossing at Chene will be redirected onto Mount Elliott. Work is to begin this month — the exact date depends on weather conditions — and will be completed by November.

The second package is scheduled for 2019 and will include repairs to the Mount Elliott Street, Concord Street and French Street overpasses. Traffic will be diverted to overpasses not being worked on while the repairs are in progress.

The third package will include the overpasses on Cass Avenue, Bush Street and Second Avenue. Traffic will be diverted to overpasses not being worked on during the repairs. More information on the project can be found on Facebook and Twitter by searching for “i94Detroit.”

“The overall scope of the project in 2018 is, we packaged Gratiot and Chene roads together with the three pedestrian bridges,” explained Morosi. “The goal is safety. We’re looking at structures from the 1950s, which have reached the end of their service life and need to be replaced. They are still safe as of now, but definitely need this work done.”

Morosi said the best advice he can give people is to take the time to learn about the project and be patient. 

“We advise patience. It will be a full spring and summer project,” said Morosi. “We also urge people to remember to pay attention to workers in work zones. They are people with families doing a job, so we want drivers to drive carefully around them.”

Scott went on to say he is glad that MDOT is taking these public outreach measures and he believes the community is responding positively.

“We’ve been part of the I-94 expansion meetings,” said Scott. “We heard about the improvements nearby, and we wanted to offer our facilities so people can find out how the project will affect their lives. … The feedback (from residents toward MDOT) has, so far, been pretty good,” said Scott. “Anytime there’s a project on something like I-94, it will affect peoples’ lives. This will change traffic from Macomb County all the way to downtown Detroit.”

Detroit resident Michelle Thomas, who attends New Mount Carmel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ and regularly travels in the area, said she was happy to see MDOT take the effort to reach out to the community, and Thomas was pleased that many people took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and learn more.

“Without the route, people are going to need to know about the detours. (MDOT) did a great job tonight on the overview of the project and letting people know what the alternate routes are. We’re seeing a lot of people from the area here tonight.”