MDOT holds meeting about huge I-375 project, picketers demand more information

MDOT looks to lose I-375 and connect downtown with boulevards, but not everyone is on board
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Posted at 10:37 PM, Jun 25, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Transportation is looking to get rid of I-375, raise it ground level and connect the area with boulevards.

However, some residents think the project is rushed, ill-informed and does little to address how businesses and residents would be affected during the four-year construction project.

MDOT held a community meeting at Eastern Market Tuesday evening to present changes to the project design, answer questions and address concerns.

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"This is a work in progress if you will, and we just had over 50 engagement sessions last year," MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi said. “There’s so many options and that’s what we want to hear from (the community)."

Over 200 people were in attendance and picketers were standing outside the meeting holding signs like "Quit Talking, Start Listening." ReThink I-375 Community Coalition has been opposed to the project, saying there's no set vision for what will happen to the area if I-375 is diminished.

Picketers outside of the MDOT meeting Tuesday
Picketers outside of the MDOT meeting Tuesday

“Stop doing any more road design. What we need is an inspiring vision for why are we doing this project? What are the benefits really going to be for the community," Olga Stella with ReThink I-375 Community Coalition said.

MDOT says that's exactly why these community meetings are taking place to see the need of what should happen to the space.

Rob Morosi mdot

“It’s removing the freeway, putting in a boulevard, replacing the freeway with a boulevard that will free up 30-plus acres of development property," Morosi said. “It's looking at really what does the community want with that property? Do they want green space? Do they want tributes to Black Bottom and Paradise Valley that were decimated by policy decisions 70 years ago?"

The historical aspect of the project is huge as I-375 was once a thriving Black community that was split up by the interstate. MDOT says the project should connect the community in a way that hasn't been seen in decades.

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However, others in the community say the project would disrupt the flow of the different neighborhoods and the construction time period alone would put them out of business.

“I think what we see is a lot of disruption. We don’t really see what they payoff is going to be," Stella said.

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Some city leaders like Detroit Planning and Development director Antoine Bryant say while the project is fluid and things still need to be worked out, it will be a positive for the community in the long run.

"We'll have a roadway that is safer for resident to traverse, we'll have slower speeds for vehicular traffic and will also result in new real estate," Bryant said.

Antoine Bryant DETROIT director of Planning and Development

MDOT says the project remains fluid and community sessions will continue taking place. Start time for construction is expected to be 2025 with the heaviest construction taking place over the following three years.

You can find more information about the project on the state's website.