I-375, the shortest signed Interstate in America, is at a crossroads. Its bridges are nearing the end of their lifespan. MDOT is going through a formal planning process to determine whether it should be rebuilt as a below-grade freeway or an at-grade urban boulevard.
We’re on the 375 Improvement Local Advisory Committee. Why? Because the new design can greatly improve non-motorized access across the freeway and improve connections to the riverfront and Eastern Market.
Latest MDOT update
The project team is very excited to share that we have received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from FHWA. This concludes the environmental study phase and design will begin. It has taken some additional time to get to FONSI due to inclusion of a community enhancements plan that will leverage the value of the excess property to address the historic environmental justice impacts of the original freeway and social equity concerns. The enhancements plan will be developed through a community-driven approach, along with a land use study, that will kick-off later this summer. We are very excited to work with the community and the City of Detroit on this innovative approach.Michigan Department of Transportation
Construction funding delayed
MDOT anticipates the study to be completed by the fall of 2020 with the final design starting afterwards. However, funding for construction has been pushed back to 2027. City of Detroit firmly pushed back on this change but did not prevail. Despite the delay, MDOT says they are still committed to the project.
Our comments on the project
Most of our comments have been incorporated into the preferred alternative, including:
- There is a benefit to having the freeway below grade. Bicyclists and pedestrians at-grade don’t have to interact with the freeway traffic. Bringing I-375 to grade creates some busier intersections. One thought is to build bike/pedestrian underpasses at one or two intersections, e.g. Lafayette and East Jefferson. This would a provide safer, separated, non-stop option for bicyclists and pedestrians. The idea of a grade-separated, non-stop bike route doesn’t appear to be gaining much traction. Not in preferred alternative
- It would be very beneficial having a non-motorized connection between the Ford Field area and Eastern Market. This should be part of a larger vision to connect downtown to Eastern Market. ✔
- We would like to see a connection along the east side of I-375 from Gratiot to Eastern Market. Russell isn’t the best for biking, but especially on Saturdays. ✔
- We want the non-motorized facilities on both sides of East Jefferson to be better aligned. In some designed they weren’t. It was unclear if bicyclists were expected to briefly use East Jefferson. Our preference is for a contiguous and direct route from the river heading north. ✔
- Getting rid of the Fisher Freeway stub heading east is great. The current intersection at Gratiot is horrific for bikes and pedestrians. ✔
- Detroit’s I-375 project to bring highly valued real estate – who gets it?, Bridge Detroit, May 2022
- I-375 replacement project in Detroit moves closer to reality, gets OK from feds, Detroit Free Press, March 2022
- Their assignment? Design a more equitable future, Harvard Gazette, February 2022
- A freeway ripped the heart out of Black life in Detroit. Now Michigan wants to tear it down, BridgeDetroit, December 2021
- Infrastructure and social justice meet in Detroit neighborhood demolished to build interstate, NBC Nightly News
- Cities Turn to Removing Highways as Form of Revitalization, WDET
- Senate Considering $10B for Highway Removal, Streetsblog, January 2021
- MDOT I-375 Improvement Project Newsletter, November 2020
- MDOT: I-375 redesign funding redirected while project study continues, Detroit Free Press, July 2020
- The Savoyard Plan: Day-lighting Hastings Street, WSU Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Capstone Group 2019, July 2019