Northbound I-75 travel likely to be closed until Wednesday over sinkhole woes in Madison Heights

The drilling and banging noises on I-75 have picked up Monday morning as construction crews turn their focus to another problem plaguing I-75: a sinkhole.

First discovered last Friday, it's completely shut down northbound traffic and rerouted commuters at I-696. 

Crews hope to have one lane open on that side of the highway by Thursday, but it could be weeks before the entire stretch of roadway is secured.

"Without a doubt, we understand the inconvenience, but safety is going to be the top priority always," said Rob Morosi with MDOT. "We have pavement that is separating, we have pavement that has settled, and until we get to the bottom of stopping that and then repairing it, we can't open the freeway."

The latest trial for Metro Detroit drivers to pass through came late last week when I-75, already the poster child for the past few year's heavy construction scenes, came in the form of a big gaping hole that formed underneath the northbound lanes Friday. 

Road crews mining for a drainage tunnel about 100 feet beneath the surface came across some unexpected groundwater at the northbound service drive near Eleven ½ Mile Road. The operation affected the pavement above as sand and silt collapsed on itself. 

RELATED: Why did I-75 sinkhole form?

It has led to road closures between I-696 and Twelve Mile Road. That section of I-75 has already been marked by traffic barrels the last few years as part of a multi-hundred-million-dollar road project to improve I-75.

Morosi said he hoped that crews would have secured the site enough to open access to travel by Wednesday afternoon, "but that's not a given."

The northbound I-75 service drive will remain closed from Lincoln to Gardenia avenues. Currently, there is not an estimate on when that section of the service drive will reopen.