More newly paved lanes of I-75 lanes need redo for bad pavement

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 26, 2019

Portions of two recently constructed traffic lanes on northbound Interstate 75 from 13 Mile to 14 Mile Road and shoulders on exit ramps on Big Beaver and Rochester roads will be removed and re-poured after inspectors discovered crews used the wrong concrete mix. 

“This is inspectors doing their jobs,” Michigan Department of Transportation Metro Region Engineer Kimberly Avery, said in a prepared statement. “The pavement designated for replacement is safe for drivers to use, but the long-term durability is compromised and (is) the reason for our actions.”

The repaving work is scheduled to be finished before all paving on segment two of the project is finished in late 2020, MDOT officials said in a press release. 

According to an MDOT press release,  “Contractor crews began removing the shoulder on a portion of the Rochester Road ramp this past weekend (Nov. 23-24) and have already replaced the pavement. Replacement of the left lanes from 13 1/2 Mile to 14 Mile roads and the remainder of the shoulder pavement on the ramps will be delayed until next year during the final year of the overall project.” 

In 2020, both directions of I-75 will be sharing the new northbound pavement in order to allow crews to rebuild the southbound lanes between Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile Road. Engineers have determined that this section is safe for drivers to use over the winter months, MDOT officials said. 

“This direction is the equivalent to enforcing a warranty,” Avery said. “This action does not add additional costs to the contract and protects the taxpayer investment in the future.”

Last year, the freeway was closed on the southbound side of the stretch between South Boulevard and Adams Road to correct repaving work. That had been finished the summer before, but MDOT called on the contractor who completed the work, Dan’s Excavating, to redo 200 feet worth of pavement MDOT said was impacting ride quality.

Motorists will continue to drive on just two lanes of north- and southbound I-75 from 13 Mile Road to Coolidge Highway for longer than originally anticipated this fall. 

MDOT announced Nov. 20 that due to weather delays and additional work added to the original contract, switching northbound traffic to the pre-construction configuration won’t happen until late December, a month later than originally stated. 

“The delay is primarily due to lost production caused by an abnormally wet spring, heavy rain events during the summer, extreme temperatures and a record snowfall in November. The process to move northbound traffic onto the northbound lanes and opening additional lanes will be completed in stages starting this month,” MDOT officials said in a prepared statement. 

Since March 1, MDOT said, crews lost roughly 60 days of production due to adverse weather. 

Before northbound traffic can be switched over, crews need to complete ramp work and some paving.

Currently, both directions of I-75 traffic, separated by a temporary concrete barrier, are maintained on the southbound side of the freeway to allow for the northbound lanes and bridges to be reconstructed this year. 

When completed, the $224 million project, the second phase of the I-75 modernization project, will reconstruct 8 miles of pavement and 18 structures, upgrade drainage, and improve aesthetics. It will feature federally approved noise walls and a high-occupancy vehicle lane between Coolidge Highway and 13 Mile Road. 

Final pavement markings for the 8-mile segment through Troy are scheduled to be finished in 2021.

MDOT said that during the winter months, crews will be working on a sound wall near Wattles Road on northbound I-75 that was not included in the original contract. This will result in a single-lane closure on northbound I-75 from Big Beaver to Wattles during the winter months. Crews will also begin prep work for the reconstruction of the southbound lanes in 2020.

The $127 million first phase of the project, the addition of one lane to northbound and southbound I-75, covered 3 miles of the freeway, between South Boulevard and Coolidge Highway through Bloomfield Township, Auburn Hills and Troy. That began in August 2016. The project’s first phase of construction also replaced five bridges, reconfigured the interchange at Square Lake Road and made improvements to the Adams Road carpool lot. 

That work was completed in 2017.

Federal funding covers about 80% of the costs. 

That stretch of freeway carries up to 174,000 vehicles per day. 

Prep work on the third and final phase — from 13 Mile Road to Eight Mile Road, started this fall. The anticipated completion is fall 2023.

For updates on the construction project, visit modernize75.com.