Wednesday, May 14, 2014
MDOT plans upgrade to the I-75, University Drive interchange
With assistance from traffic consulting agencies, Michigan Department of Transportation administrators now have plans in place to upgrade the I-75, University Drive interchange.
This past January, MDOT closed the University Drive overpass in order to install temporary bridge supports that are reinforcing deteriorating structural beams.
A permanent solution identified by MDOT and consultants is to construct a relatively new and innovative interchange design called the diverging diamond. In fact, this project will represent the first interchange of this design in Michigan.
In a diverging diamond, vehicles traveling on the freeway overpass cross from the right side lanes over to the left side lanes. Moving in either direction over the bridge, this will allow more fluent progress through the interchange or on to I-75 entrance ramps. The design eliminates the need for sharp turns and long waits for oncoming traffic to clear before making turns onto the ramps.
The lane crossover process is regulated by a single, timed traffic signal at either end of the bridge.
Another advantage the interchange upgrade will provide is designated bicycle lanes safely isolated from motor vehicle lanes.
Although detailed construction timelines are yet to be determined, the project is expected to consume the full 2015 construction season, which runs from April through November.
Also yet to be determined is whether the new interchange will be built where the current bridge is located or alongside it. This and other decisions are likely to determine how long and how dramatically Oakland University commuters will be impacted by ramp and lane closures during the construction season.
MDOT officials and consultants have stated that minimizing disruption to current interchange traffic demands will be a top priority throughout the project.