Michigan leaders hope to pay honor to Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood with I-375 project

The construction of a stretch of I-375 more than 50 years ago destroyed Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood. 

Leaders are now hoping to honor the predominately Black neighborhood as a new project begins in the area.

The freeway is currently a barrier between the central business district and the neighborhoods to the east. In a letter sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last year, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that modernizing the road and its bridges can eliminate obstacles and allow residents to have better access to services and jobs.

Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke Wednesday at Eastern Market about the project.

"It won't look like Hasting Street did, but it will look like an area that everybody can be proud of," Duggan said.

Leaders want the community to be involved with what the area will look like, similar to how they were involved with the design of the Avenue of Fashion on 7 Mile and Livernois.

"It's been great to see the Avenue of Fashion back to a walkable drivable place where businesses can thrive. And that's the ideal goal. But it's got to be informed by the community, and it's got to pay honor to Black Bottom and the history of the neighborhood," Whitmer said.

The project is federally funded but will be coordinated by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2027.