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Username: Genesyxx

Post Number: 721
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 8:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well you're gonna hate this then....

180M project to ease crossing at border will close I-75 for two years, spark I-96 detours.

Semis coming into the U.S. via the Ambassador have to exit on Fort. The new crossing will take them directly to and from I-75 and I-96.

DETROIT -- Ready for more orange cones?

Work begins this summer on one of Michigan's largest road projects ever -- tying Interstates 75 and 96 directly into the Ambassador Bridge.

The good news: A key stretch of I-75 won't shut down until Feb. 25, after the Lodge Freeway face-lift is complete. The bad: That section of I-75 will close for nearly two years, detouring 100,000 vehicles a day to other arteries, mainly I-94, and promising to make the north-south commute a headache.

When finished, in December 2009, the $180 million project will get border-crossing traffic off southwest Detroit's surface streets and reduce congestion at one of North America's busiest international crossings, the Michigan Department of Transportation says.

But here's the twist: The state will improve access to the Ambassador even as it competes against the bridge's owner, Manuel "Matty" Moroun, to build a new span to Windsor. State officials -- who are eyeing a publicly owned bridge farther downriver -- insist the improvements are necessary despite who wins the bridge race.

"The need is here wherever a second crossing may go," said Greg Johnson, area engineer for MDOT.

With 25,500 vehicles crossing the bridge daily, traffic regularly backs up for blocks.

A typical weekday wait is 45 minutes to an hour, said Dan Safford, a 25-year truck driver and general manager of Detroit trucking company George Campbell & Sons.

"It's very congested," Safford said. "You're paying a driver $23 an hour to sit and wait to get across the border."

Work begins in July

The tie-in is actually the last, and largest, phase of the $230 million Gateway project, which started in 2002 with construction on surface streets surrounding the Ambassador plaza.

State officials expect to hire a contractor next month for about $180 million -- the largest contract in MDOT history, topping the $145 million for the M-6/U.S. 131 interchange near Grand Rapids and the $139 million to rebuild the Lodge, Johnson said.

Work is expected to start in July on an I-75 service drive, although freeway traffic won't be affected until the main phase begins in February, he said.

About 80 percent of the total Gateway funding is federal tax money, with the state picking up 20 percent, or $46 million, Johnson said.

Gateway planning began in 1994, years before MDOT entered the bridge race. According to a consultant's 1997 environmental assessment for MDOT, a key goal was to "accommodate future border crossing capacity needs and a potential future second span of the Ambassador Bridge."

Ambassador officials are still attempting to get U.S. and Canadian approval for that span, but MDOT leaders have backed away from giving even the impression of support. That's because in late 2005, the transportation agency, along with U.S. and Canadian officials, scrapped the idea of a second Ambassador Bridge in favor of a public span that would extend from Detroit's Delray community to Windsor's Sandwich District.

"We're not advocating that a second (private) crossing go there at the Ambassador Bridge," Johnson said, "but nothing that we do with the Gateway project is going to disallow that possibility."

Crossing to be more efficient

The road project will correct a confusing and inefficient crossing, officials say.

Semis coming into the United States now exit on Fort Street, while Windsor-bound cars and trucks must use Porter Street to get to the bridge. The reconfigured crossing will take all bridge traffic directly to and from the freeways. Officials say it should make the crossing faster, although they couldn't quantify that.

John Cimaglia of Willis, who travels to Windsor three or four times a month to shop and eat, said he typically spends at least a half-hour at the crossing into the United States.

"The biggest problem is the uncertainty," said Cimaglia, 62. "You never know how long you're going to wait."

The work also will include rebuilding aging sections of I-75 and I-96 and constructing a pedestrian bridge over I-75 along Bagley to connect east and west Mexicantown.

MDOT plans to close I-75 from Clark to Rosa Parks Boulevard near downtown from late February to December 2009. In addition, I-96 from Warren Avenue to I-75 will be closed for several months starting next spring.

The two freeways will not close until the Lodge overhaul is complete, said MDOT planner Andrew Zeigler. The Lodge work is slated to wrap in November.

Traffic to the Ambassador Bridge and to Mexicantown will be maintained throughout the Gateway project, officials said.

Improvements planned

Moroun, a Grosse Pointe billionaire, will spend $40 million on roads and ramps on his property to tie into MDOT's new infrastructure and take the freeway traffic onto the Ambassador, said company president Dan Stamper.

Moroun plans to spend another $100 million on plaza improvements in the next four years, including a new toll plaza, duty-free store and 11 new customs booths, Stamper said. There currently are 13 booths for semis and 12 for personal vehicles coming from Canada.

Cimaglia said he believes the key to easing congestion is not better access or even another bridge, but more border agents. The retired teacher says he'll often see empty inspection booths, and when he asks why, he said agents blame it on staffing cuts.

"You can have all the new booths you want, but if you don't have them all open and available, what good is that?" he said.

Ron Smith, local spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, denied the staffing cuts and said the agency does "a pretty good job" of getting traffic across the border during peak times.

When asked if there are enough agents, Smith said, "That's a hard question to answer. As a supervisor, I always want more people. But does that mean there's a problem? No."

mad linkage son!http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070510/M ETRO05/705100441

If you've seen the video, it looks like a pure headache, especially for those who don't know the area. And what's up with the pedestrian bridge over I-75? I can understand wanting to see all the trucks that come in (HA!) but if you can't walk/ride a bike over to Canada, why include all the foot traffic? I guess park's are important to get to.
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 1379
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 8:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So how do I get from Hamtramck to work in Southgate for two years?
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 143
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 9:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How am I supposed to get downtown from Taylor when I visit my parents?
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Username: Homer

Post Number: 166
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 9:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Fort Street will take the biggest load. I suggest Dix, West Jefferson, or Michigan to Southfield. This will really suck.
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Username: Queensfinest

Post Number: 99
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 9:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Will the prospective downriver bridge be directly connected to the expressways, or is it too early to tell that yet?
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Username: Sticks

Post Number: 292
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Or just take I-94 to M-39 if you're going to the western/northern Downriver communities like Taylor, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale.
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Username: Steelworker

Post Number: 901
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

good thing i get off before all this crap at lonyo exit.
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 743
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They're just trying to get everybody used to taking surface streets when they decide to fill in the freeways...
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Username: Sticks

Post Number: 293
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Link to what will be closed on I-75:

http://maps.google.com/maps?da ddr=Fisher+Fwy+W+%26+Clark+St, +Detroit,+Wayne,+Michigan+4820 9,+United+States&saddr=fisher+ fwy+%26+rosa+parks+blvd,+detro it,+mi&f=d&hl=en&sll=42.312323 ,-83.093462&sspn=0.045318,0.07 9823&ie=UTF8&cd=1&ll=42.326443 ,-83.082905&spn=0.045308,0.079 823&z=14&om=1
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Username: Fareastsider

Post Number: 382
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 2:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Check out the pedestrian bridge.
http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0 ,1607,7-151-9621_11008_45614_4 5628-164817--,00.html
Here are some plans
http://www.michigan.gov/docume nts/mdot/MDOT_Ambasador_Bridge _Presentation_189158_7.pdf
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Username: Ordinary

Post Number: 210
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 6:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That's scary. How am I going to get to my beloved Melvindale?
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Username: Motorcitydave

Post Number: 15
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 6:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder if they are going to leave that service drive open that connects 96 to the Lodge? It is basically a separate road (separate from the main part of 75) through there next to Tiger Stadium.
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Username: Urbanize

Post Number: 1195
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 7:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I-94 to M-39 will be the best route. Avoid it at all times during rush hour. I personally think Fort will be the best route then. Always stick to the surface streets. 8 Mile to Telegraph route isn't bad either for N side Detroiters since both streets flow pretty well.

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