Reopening of I-75 lanes from 13 Mile to Coolidge delayed a month

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 20, 2019

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

The Michigan Department of Transportation 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.

 “This delay is not due to lack of effort,” Sue Datta, MDOT’s senior project manager for segment two of the I-75 modernization project, said in the release.  “On average, between contractors, laborers and MDOT personnel, we had close to 200 people working on this job daily in various areas over the 9-mile work zone. No other project compares in complexity and scope to this complete infrastructure replacement.”

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.