Crain’s Detroit Business
Sept. 15, 2022
A $104 million federal grant will expedite the conversion of the sunken Interstate 375 in Detroit to a six-lane boulevard at street level, officials will announce Thursday, enabling construction to begin in 2025 — at least two years earlier than planned.
The allotment is part of $1.5 billion from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding competitive grant program, funding for which increased by more than 50 percent in the U.S. infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed last year.
The state plans to convert the 1-mile depressed freeway, which connects I-75 directly to Jefferson Avenue, to a wide street. The highway was built by demolishing Black neighborhoods 60 years ago.
Michigan had requested $180 million. State transportation officials said they were pleased with the grant given many other worthy projects across the country.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2021 requested an unspecified amount for I-375 from a different pot — the new federal Reconnecting Communities program, which also is part of the infrastructure package.
The project’s estimated cost, including for engineering, is $300 million. Construction should be done in 2028.
Whitmer has said I-375 — which opened in 1964 — the interchange with Interstate 75 and various bridges are outdated and in need of modernization.
The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to remove I-375, corresponding services drives and the Gratiot Ave. connector. A six-lane boulevard would be built at the current city street level from I-75 to Jefferson Avenue and become a four-lane boulevard from Jefferson to Atwater Street. The existing I-75/I-375 interchange would be rebuilt with a smaller footprint and enhanced connectivity.