I-75 Rouge River project will close I-75 SB to Downriver for 2 years

- Orange barrels will be rolled out in just two months on Interstate 75 - and they'll stay there for the next two years.

If you drive between Detroit and Downriver, prepare for a detour as southbound I-75 is expected to be shut down. The Michigan Department of Transportation says I-75 south between Springwells in Detroit and North Line in Southgate will be shut down beginning February 4. The project is estimated to take nearly two years.

"The assigned detour will be to take I-96 out to I-275 south and back down to reconnect to I-75." says Adam Penzenstadler of MDOT.

The idea to redirect southbound traffic to share the northbound side was considered, but ultimately rejected by project planners, Penzenstadler added.

"We had looked at options of maintaining traffic in both directions, trying two directions on one side and moving everyone over," Penzenstadler says. "But after working with the community and hearing their concerns, we decided it's not the best option."

MDOT officials say Michigan's largest bridge needs new concrete and the cost is about $170 million. While northbound lanes will not be affected, MDOT officials say they believe the decision to shut down the southbound lanes will minimize traffic.

"Every time we've done work on this bridge and you've taken it down to two lanes in each direction, traffic backed up for miles and miles in both directions," says Penzenstadler.

When discussing the project, another major concern is safety.

"There's just not enough room on that bridge to get emergency response," he says. "If there happened to be an accident on that bridge, how would you get to them?"

While the roughly eight-mile stretch may be a pest for many drivers heading Downriver, MDOT officials say this project will make their inconvenience as short as possible.

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