Thirteen miles of I-275 to be shut down in the spring of 2016
BY JAMES DYER & ELAINE GEROU
NEWS EDITOR & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Come Spring 2016, many Schoolcraft commuters will need to find alternatives routes to campus due to upcoming highway closures. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has scheduled I-275 to be reconstructed in the upcoming year, thus affecting nearly all local travel. Local motorists voted in favor of this construction on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and it will come to fruition in just a few short months.
“It’s going to cause a hassle for sure, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Driving down 275 is terrible [now],” said Schoolcraft Student and Canton resident Aaron Pelachyk .
The total cost of the project is projected to be a $70 to 80 million dollar investment, while traffic control and costs are believed to be as high as $1.04 million. Encompassing a 13 mile stretch of the freeway, fixtures will include pavement patches, repairing of ramps, drainage, 16 bridges and transportation works, and the construction hopefully will improve travel in the future.
Respondents asked for the method of traffic f low to be handled between 5 Mile and I-96/696 interchange, so important exits for many Schoolcraft staff and students will be closed.
In the past three years, this is the second project that will consume a large area of Metro-Detroit, I-96 reconstruction having taken place in 2014. The upcoming I-275 construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016, but there is no official start or end date decided yet.
According to Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid, Livonia’s officers already have training in the field of detours due to the recent I-96 construction of last year that crowded the streets of the local cities affected. Therefore, traffic control will be taken with more precaution and handled with more ease. While Schoolcraft commuters will be affected, the detours should be handled well.
Much like the I-96 construction, MDOT took the citizens’ surveys into consideration, and after a recent survey of 3,765 Michigan residents, it was decided to close one direction at a time instead of both directions at once in the upcoming construction. This is unlike the recent I-96 project due to the
of easy going detours. The surrounding streets would not be able to handle the traffic f low from a completely closed I-275, so one direction at a time will be shut down instead.
As always, drivers will have to be more aware with greater traffic f low on the road, and the Livonia Police and MDOT want drivers to take extreme precaution when driving in heavy traffic, especially around campus.
Much like the recent I-96 project, I-275’s construction will interrupt many people’s daily routines and routes.
“Getting to school isn’t a fun drive as is. With the highway shutdown, it’ll be ten times worse,” said Schoolcraft student, and Canton resident Kali Jervis.
The highway will have a direct impact on the students in the Plymouth/Canton and Livonia districts and the thousands of others that also rely on I-275 as their main route for commutes.
“We always encourage drivers to be cautious, but what they can expect is increased traffic f low on the main roads [surrounding Schoolcraft’s campus],” said Chief Steven Kaufman, Director of Campus Police Security.
Kaufman said that traffic could be expected to resemble dense holiday traffic for the entire duration of the construction which is only expected to take one construction season. Luckily for Schoolcraft students though, the Campus Police Authority’s Twitter page, twitter.com/SCCampusPA, will be tweeting traffic and construction updates, as well as routes for drivers to avoid the highest traffic areas during the construction.
Once the freeway is finished, all drivers will have a more enjoyable commute, free of potholes and cracks. Although the extended travel times and heavy traffic will be a nuisance, it will ultimately be worth it in the end. For more information, visit michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7- 151-9621_11008-366762–,00. html.