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It’s finally here! M-1 RAIL starts construction July 28 … and there will be street closings


The future of Detroit’s transportation is racing towards us by way of the M-1 RAIL.  Unfortunately, Woodward will be a temporary casualty.  With Woodward facing closures when construction begins Monday, July 28 and construction planned until the M-1’s completion in late 2016, more than a few question come to mind for Detroiters.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and DTE Energy could start its work around mid-July before M-1 RAIL begins its work.  The MDOT and DTE work on Woodward Avenue will not prohibit vehicular traffic and will only require limited lane closures.

M-1 1Here’s what you need to know to get around downtown for the next few months.

For most of 2014 Woodward will be closed from south of Adams Street to Larned Street for vehicular traffic.  Between Adams and Chandler one lane as well as a left hand turn lane will be maintained throughout and the Campus Martius area will be open for emergencies.

Major crossroads will stay open, except for Larned, Congress, Monroe, Michigan, Fort, State/Gratiot, Grand River and Park/Witherell.  These streets will be open for the most part, but will experience temporary closures due to track construction and resurfacing.  Track construction will also cause minor issues at the crossroads of Adams, Mack (MLK Jr.), Forest, Warren and Grand Blvd.  These will only result in partial lane closures at the intersections.

Business as usual will continue … as much as possible.

“Over the next 30 days our team will be pounding the pavement to make everyone who lives, works and visits the Woodward corridor aware of what they should expect from track construction and how to navigate around it once we begin on July 28th,” said Paul Childs, chief operating Officer, M-1 RAIL.  “We are moving quickly to provide information and resources to businesses and residents along the corridor.  There will be a business support program that we will introduce in the coming weeks along with more details about construction activities and timelines as they are finalized.”

Parking meters on Woodward will be inaccessible and parking facilities will be maintained allowing 29,000 parking spaces to remain open to the public.

Downtown will still be walkable. Sidewalks, ADA compliant ramps, and crosswalks will remain in operation allowing both pedestrians and cyclists to continue with their day-to-day routine where detours aren’t required.  Cyclists are encouraged to use side streets though.

Residences, commercial establishments, loading bays, alleys, parking facilities and driveways will be maintained at all times.  Construction will also not affect mail or package delivery. Fire, ambulance and police vehicles will, of course, be able to navigate through construction as well.

People moverThe People Mover will not be affected at all by construction and buses will also continue to follow their routes.  Up-to-date info on the buses can be found by clicking here or by calling (313) 933-1300 for DDOT. For information on the Smart Bus click here  or call (313) 223-2100.

All the fun you associate with downtown will not be impacted because event-planning committees meet regularly with the M-1 team to make sure special events are not put in jeopardy because of the building.  Construction will also cease on major holidays like 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

4th-Fridays Night017 cThe Monthly Community Advisory Council meets to give updates on the projects progress on the second Thursday of every month between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm at the MSU Detroit Center at 3408 Woodward.

The planned information sharing about construction activities will build upon community outreach initiatives that M-1 RAIL has been doing for more than a year.  The next two scheduled meetings are as follows:

  • Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — Business Stakeholder Meeting: Midtown Edition @ the Max M. Fisher Music Theater, 3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201. 7:30 a.m. doors open, meeting 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, July 2, 2014 – Community Update Meeting: Central Business District Edition @ The Madison, 1555 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226. 5:30 p.m. doors open, meeting 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

You can get information at, which is regularly updated.  You can also call 1-800-511-3931 or follow the M-1 Rail on Twitter and on Facebook for updates.

When completed in late 2016 the M-1 RAIL streetcar will travel north and south on both sides of Woodward Avenue for 3.3-miles between Larned Street and W. Grand Blvd. Sixteen of the 20 stations will be curbside and four will be median at 12 locations and will serve Detroit’s largest job centers and most visited destinations.

It will ignite tremendous new economic development and job creation and will provide a foundation for improved and expanded public transit throughout the region. The project will also create construction and permanent jobs for Detroiters.

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