September 15, 2014 -The M-1 Streetcar and I-96 reconstruction projects are two of the largest projects in the region and both were in the news last week. I-96 has been closed since early April between Telegraph and Newburgh roads for a complete reconstruction. I drive the service drive at least once a week and it has been fascinating watching the progress over the summer. It was scheduled to open in mid-October, but it was announced last week that it would open on September 30 – almost two weeks early.
It has been a landmark project in so many ways, but the most important thing to take away is that the project will be completed early. The fact that it was done in one season means that the impact to residents, local business, and freeway users was limited to one construction season and done at a lower cost than if it were done over two seasons. The contractor also guaranteed the project for several years. This project will become a prototype for future freeway reconstructions.
The federal government announced the TIGER grants last Friday and we learned that the M-1 Streetcar project was awarded $12.2 million. This will certainly help the bottom line for the first significant transit capital project in the region since the PeopleMover. So far, construction appears to be going smoothly. Monday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in Detroit to make the award and take part in ribbon-cutting ceremonies. This is a very important project for the city and public transit in the region. It signals the first step in building a regional transit system. No more talking about it – it is being built!
U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
These two projects are both transformative and important for the future of the region. They signal a new beginning and give us a peek into the future of freeway reconstruction and our transit system. Now, if we can just get the legislature to support these and other important improvements with additional revenue!
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