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After more than three years of construction, I-475 motorists should get to drive on finished pavement next weekend.
Shifting eastbound traffic onto the freeway’s rebuilt left lanes and hooking up the new eastbound I-475 ramp to northbound I-75 will require extra lane and ramp closings, however, and one of the closed ramps will stay shut for about two weeks during noise wall installation.
Once the new eastbound traffic pattern is set up — by Sunday evening, weather permitting — crews will start moving westbound I-475 motorists onto the left lanes, too, so final paving can start on the right lanes and ramps through the work zone.
“Ultimately, we’re looking at about Nov. 15 to have all lanes unrestricted,” Eric Laeng, ODOT’s project engineer, said Friday, adding that one or both of the closed I-475 ramps at the Jeep/Willys interchange, closed since late 2010, could reopen sooner than that.
The closed Monroe Street entrance to eastbound I-475 also is scheduled to reopen once all I-475 lanes are open.
Rearranging the eastbound work zone is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Friday, when the Douglas Road and ProMedica Parkway entrances and the exit to northbound I-75 will close. Eastbound traffic — now two lanes west of Douglas and three east of there — will be reduced to a single lane east of Secor Road at that time, too.
Detours will be posted using Central Avenue and Jeep Parkway for the Douglas and ProMedica ramps, while drivers wanting to go north on I-75 will be sent south to the Detroit Avenue interchange to reverse direction until the northbound exit reopens.
Once the northbound exit reopens, the ramp to southbound I-75 will close for its final paving. All eastbound I-475 traffic will be sent north on I-75, with Phillips Avenue designated as the turnaround point for those wishing to go south.
By Monday morning, all ramps at the I-75 junction and the Douglas entrance are to be open again, but the ProMedica Parkway entrance to eastbound I-475 will remain closed until Oct. 11 for noise-wall construction between Central and Auburn avenues.
No schedule has been announced yet for any westbound ramp closings associated with final paving on that side of the freeway.
The purpose of waiting until now to finish the paving on lanes that were otherwise finished months ago, Mr. Laeng said, is to minimize the painting of temporary lane stripes that would mar that surface pavement after the $64 million project’s completion.
Along with finishing final paving on the right lanes and shoulders, crews after this weekend will be doing drainage work, installing guardrail and noise walls, and tearing down the old eastbound-to-northbound ramp bridge to wrap up tasks requiring full-time lane closings.
The bridge demolition will require nighttime traffic stops on the ramp from northbound I-75 to westbound I-475 during the coming weeks.
While its replacement has room for two lanes, however, only one will be used until I-75 is widened between I-475 and I-280, a project scheduled to start in 2015.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.