Tell MDOT to Fix I-94 but NOT Widen It

Do you think I-94 should cut an even wider swath through the middle of Detroit? Or should we focus on improving connectivity and walkability?

Do you think Michigan should spend $2 billion on expanding I-94? Or should road repairs and transit expansion be prioritized?

These are some of the questions that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) are considering.

MDOT Public Meetings on I-94 Expansion

You have an opportunity to share your opinions at a series of open-house style Public Meetings hosted by MDOT:

  • On Tuesday, July 14, from 9 – 11 a.m. and from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    • At Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Barth Hall), 4800 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • And on Thursday, July 16, from 2 – 4 p.m. and from 6 – 8 p.m.
    • At Wayne County Community College – Eastern Campus, 5901 Conner Ave., Detroit

Please come out to any of these meetings and share your concerns with MDOT! They need to hear from members of the local community and other stakeholders, so please help spread the word.

The Proposed Project

For the past 20 years, MDOT has been planning to overhaul and widen I-94 through midtown and the east side of Detroit, including redesigning the interchanges with I-96, M-10, and I-75.

According to MDOT:

“The I-94 modernization project will involve rebuilding 6.7 miles between Conner Avenue and I-96. Included in this project is utility and bridge replacement, improvements to freeway interchanges, the construction of continuous service drives, and an additional freeway lane. Bridge work (is underway and) will continue through 2018, with freeway work scheduled to begin in 2019.”

This project will cost $1.9 billion and take 20 years to complete, with MDOT allocating $200 million a year for this and a widening of I-75 through southern Oakland County. An estimated 34 buildings and 11 pedestrian crossings over I-94 would be torn down to make room for the wider roadway.

Changes Needed to the I-94 Project

TRU supports reconstruction of the old infrastructure including I-94 within its existing footprint, especially the decrepit bridges over it.

However, TRU and other community organizations and institutions have serious concerns about the scope and magnitude of the project and have recommended critical changes:

  • No Expansion 
    • There is no justified need to add additional travel lanes and service drive lanes to I-94. Despite projections, people are driving less and want other alternatives to getting around.
    • Expanding I-94 would cost $400 million, money that would be better spent on road repairs or transit alternatives.
  • Maintain and Improve Walkability
    • MDOT should NOT remove 11 bridges over I-94, as currently proposed. People’s ability to cross over I-94 should not be decreased.
    • People want more options for getting around than just driving. Priority should be given to improving or at minimum maintaining options for walking and biking, not eliminating those crossings.
  • Preserve Urban Fabric and Historic Buildings
    • MDOT should NOT tear down the 34 buildings as proposed, especially historic structures like the United Sound building.
    • There is not sufficient need for continual service drives and long entrance and exit ramps to further disrupt this growing urban community.
  • Fully Evaluate Impacts and Alternatives
    • MDOT needs to complete a “Supplemental EIS” to take a new look at the needs for, impacts of, and alternatives to this project. Too much has changed over the past 20 years to simply do periodic “re-evaluations”.
    • MDOT never fully considered the potential for a commuter train between Detroit and Ann Arbor and Bus Rapid Transit lines on Gratiot and Michigan Avenues to alleviate peak traffic on I-94.