Detroit residents learn more about I-375 project at open house
Early design concepts, timelines and social equity goals of the state's immense I-375 transformation project were shared Wednesday with residents at an Eastern Market open house.
Why it matters: The freeway transformation is a $300 million undertaking to update critical infrastructure near downtown and the riverfront — all while attempting to correct past injustices when I-375 was built 60 years ago.
Catch up quick: The deteriorating milelong I-375 freeway is being replaced with a new boulevard beginning south of Eastern Market and taking travelers all the way to the riverfront.
- The new boulevard will be outfitted with sidewalks, bike paths and new traffic signals with access to downtown streets.
- The project is planned to be finished in 2028.
Driving the news: The open house — hosted by MDOT — featured details about traffic during construction, aesthetic enhancements, job creation, small business opportunities and the project site's history.
Yes, but: For all the public engagement at the event, one attendee noted that project officials did not publicly answer on-the-spot questions for all to hear.
Between the lines: The freeway is synonymous with the destruction of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley — two Black communities among the most culturally significant areas in city history.
- The state says it has committed to addressing historical and environmental injustices through the project's execution.
What they're saying: J. Gregory Love, a current resident whose aunt settled in the area in the 1940s, tells Axios that it's disingenuous to use the project to try and publicly correct past wrongs — most residents and business owners who were displaced by the city 60 years ago aren't around anymore.
- "You can't make that whole," Love said at the open house. "It's better to not use that premise because it's not true."
What's next: Wednesday's open house was one of several upcoming public engagement events, which are planned for June, August and October.
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