Interstate 275 (Michigan)
I-275 highlighted in red
|Auxiliary route of I-75|
|Maintained by MDOT|
|Length:||35.026 mi (56.369 km)
29.97 miles (48.23 km) according to FHWA
|Existed:||January 14, 1977 – present|
|South end:||I-75 near Monroe|
|I-96 / M-14 near Livonia|
|North end:||I-96 / I-696 / M-5 in Farmington Hills|
|Counties:||Monroe, Wayne, Oakland|
Interstate 275 (I-275) in the US state of Michigan is an Interstate Highway that functions as a western bypass of the Detroit metropolitan area. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) maintains it as a component of the larger state trunkline highway system. The freeway runs through the western suburbs near Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. Along its routing, I-275 crosses several area rivers and rail lines. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the length is 29.97 miles (48.23 km) while MDOT reports the length at 35.026 miles (56.369 km), a discrepancy due to a disagreement over the northern terminus.
According to the FHWA, I-275 ends at the junction with I-96 and M-14 along the boundary between Livonia and Plymouth Township. MDOT considers I-275 to extend north concurrently with I-96 to the junction with I-696 and M-5 along the boundary between Farmington Hills and Novi. Maps from other providers follow MDOT's lead and label the freeway north of M-14 as I-96/I-275. The southern terminus is the interchange with I-75 near Newport, northeast of Monroe. The original planned section north to I-75 near Davisburg was abandoned because of local opposition shortly after the existing highway was completed in 1977. A later attempt to revive the proposal failed in 1979. Additional plans to complete a state highway, known as M-275 through Oakland County were kept on the drawing boards through the 1980s, but failed to materialize.
I-275 begins at exit 20 along I-75 in northeastern Monroe County. The surrounding area is farmland and residential subdivisions in the adjacent Frenchtown and Berlin charter townships near the community of Newport. The freeway angles to the northwest and crosses US Highway 24 (US 24), which is also called Telegraph Road. After this interchange, the freeway turns to the north, running east of Carleton, crossing the Canadian National Railway and Conrail Shared Assets lines north of exit 5. At Will Carleton Road, I-275 crosses into Wayne County. There it continues on a northerly path parallel to a CSX Transportation line through southern Wayne County. The freeway crosses the Huron River at South Huron Road, adjacent to Willow Metropark.
In the city of Romulus, I-275 begins to take on a more suburban character when it passes the southwestern boundary of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. There is access to the south side of the airport signed at Eureka Road and to the north side at I-94. Between these two interchanges, I-275 begins to run to the northwest, cross over the same CSX line and a Norfolk Southern Railway line and pass a campus of Wayne County Community College and the headquarters of the Visteon Corporation, a major auto parts supplier spun off from Ford Motor Corporation. Near these two complexes, the freeway turns north again, running parallel to the east of Haggerty Road. The freeway crosses over another Norfolk Southern Railway line also used by Amtrak trains from Chicago and Pontiac, US 12/Michigan Avenue and M-153/Ford Road in Canton. Michigan Avenue was once the Chicago Road, and before that the Sauk Trail, an early Indian trail. Ford Road was named for William Ford, father of Henry Ford. I-275 crosses the Lower Branch of the River Rouge north of Michigan Avenue and the Middle Branch between Ford Road and the Jeffries Freeway. It also crosses over the same CSX line a third time.
The interchange with the Jeffries Freeway is where the FHWA considers I-275 to end and also where the freeway crosses over another CSX line from Detroit. This interchange is where I-275 meets I-96 which merges from the east on the Jeffries and turns north concurrently with I-275. To the west, the M-14 freeway merges and ends. MDOT still considers the freeway north of here part of I-275, and signs it as such. Other map makers and mapping service providers such as Rand McNally and Google Maps label their maps in accordance with MDOT and not FHWA. The combined freeway curves to the east into Livonia continuing through suburban areas before crossing 8 Mile Road into Oakland County. North of 10 Mile Road, I-96/I-275 crosses Grand River Avenue. Here the ramps start to connect with both directions of M-5, the start of eastbound I-696 or the continuation of westbound I-96. MDOT ends the I-275 designation at this massive interchange.
MDOT built a bike trail parallel to I-275 in the mid-1970s. This I-275 Bikeway was constructed as a reply to the 1970s energy crisis, along a 44.1-mile (71.0 km) stretch in Monroe, Wayne and Oakland counties. This path is 8 feet (2.4 m) wide and runs at least 30 feet (9 m) from the freeway, fenced off from adjacent landowners. It was not well-maintained originally, but it is being improved. There are 24 access points to the trail located at major cross roads along the route. Since 2006, the Michigan Trails & Greenway Alliance and MDOT have been working to improve the bike trail. At the time of the alliance's initial studies, the trail was overgrown with vegetation in locations. The study focused on areas of needed improvement after meeting with members of the public in the communities surrounding the bike path. In August 2009, MDOT held an open house to discuss construction work planned to improve the trail. Further impacts by MDOT to the bikeway included closures in 2010 during reconstruction projects underway on the I-275 freeway. Access to the bike trail in Wayne County is to be maintained, although the section under South Huron Drive will be closed for 100 days during the project.
A north–south freeway was originally planned as an Interstate Highway allowing through traffic to bypass the city of Detroit. This plan was included in the 1955 General Location of National System of Interstate Highways (Yellow Book), an early proposal for what would become the Interstate Highway System. The Yellow Book contained an inset of the proposed freeways in and around the Detroit area including a north–south freeway east of the current I-275 corridor. The 1958 Numbering Plan for Michigan had this route marked as I-73. William Swanson in MDOT's highway planning unit stated that the original planned route for I-275 would have instead been used for I-75 itself, with the I-275 number applied to I-75 through Detroit.
The present-day freeway was built in stages in the mid-1970s. In 1974, the state highway map of the time showed the highway under construction, but no parts completed. The first four miles (6 km) of the freeway were shown opened to traffic from M-153 (Ford Road) to Schoolcraft Avenue in 1975. The segment between US 24 and I-75 was open as well. The second phase was completed in the autumn of 1976, when I-275 was extended north from Schoolcraft (and the incomplete interchange with the future route of I-96 (Jeffries Freeway) to the I-275/I-96/I-696 interchange in Novi. Then on January 14, 1977, the remaining 23 miles (37 km) section of I-275 between US 24 in Monroe and M-153 (Ford Road) in Canton Township was opened to traffic, completing the current freeway. The final cost to build the I-275 freeway was $145 million (equivalent to $760 million in 2011).
The Michigan Highway Commission canceled the northern section of the highway on January 26, 1977 after it spent $1.6 million (equivalent to $9.24 million in 2011) the year before purchasing land for the roadway. This northern section was not planned as an Interstate Highway at that time, bearing the designation M-275 instead. Opposition to construction came from various citizen's groups and different levels of local government. Additionally, both The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press opposed the project. The Detroit City Council, led by then-Chairman Carl Levin opposed the plan. Levin said at the time, "At last I think people are waking up to the dangers of more and more expressways. At some point we've got to say enough. And I think we've reached it." The US Department of the Interior reviewed the state's environmental impact study of the project and stated the project, "will cause irreparable damages on recreation lands, wetlands, surface waters and wildlife habitat." The total project to link Farmington Hills with Davisburg with the 24-mile (39 km) would have cost $69.5 million (equivalent to $364 million in 2011) and saved drivers an estimated eight minutes off travel time around the city of Detroit.
The Jeffries Freeway project was in its final stages of construction in 1977, linking the final 10.5 miles (16.9 km) of I-96 at the M-39 (Southfield Freeway) with the I-275 freeway. After it was completed, I-96 was routed down I-275. The original plans for I-96 in the Yellow Book routed that highway along a different routing into downtown Detroit, along a path adjacent to Grand River Avenue.
New extension plan
A least one transportation study in the early 1970s identified the highway north of Novi as M-275. The cancelled highway project was revisited by the State Transportation Commission in 1979 as M-275. The renewed interest came after a vote of local residents showed a desire for the road. The Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation backed the proposal with the support of local officials around the highway and the highway lobby. The 22-year-old proposal was deemed "necessary" by the department to alleviate highway congestion along other area highways. The Department of the Interior continued to oppose the highway on environmental grounds. M-275 would have cut through a state park in Oakland County if completed. Another factor that helped sink the project was the rising costs. Estimates in 1979 placed a $100 million (equivalent to $424 million in 2011 price tag on the project.
Despite funding increases for MDOT by the State Legislature, M-275 languished on the drawing boards. New plans in 1983 had addressed several of the environmental concerns by moving interchanges and rerouting around wetlands These plans even cancelled an extension of Northwestern Highway (then M-4, now part of M-10) to Pontiac Trail and a connection with M-275. A the state increased MDOT's budget by $602 million (equivalent to $1.93 billion in 2011), but left the M-275 project off a priority list. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) continued to factor M-275 into regional transportation planning forecasts. SEMCOG's position was that the location population that would be served by the new highway would rival 70 of Michigan's counties combined, yet there was no four-lane highways through the area. Opponents cited urban sprawl, which SEMCOG dismissed because the population was already in the area of the new highway. By May 1985, MDOT had relinquished ownership of right-of-way in West Bloomfield Township. Transportation planners at an April 24, 1985 meeting of the West Bloomfield Republicans said that the highway extension "would make sense" but MDOT "is planning no new freeways and no major road construction" at the time. Studies comparing the levels of traffic at various checkpoints along the existing I-275 showed that the freeway was only handling half of its rated capacity. At 8 Mile Road, the freeway carried 57,000 vehicles in 1977 and 88,000 vehicles in 1984. This compared to a 1986 projection of 133,000 vehicles daily.
After many years of inactivity, further work began along this same route, but the resulting highway was designated M-5 rather than I-275 or M-275. The first section of this freeway extension was opened in October 1994. This extended the route from I-275's previous terminus at I-96/I-696 north to 12 Mile Road. A plan enacted by then Governor John Engler in 1995 angered road officials when funding was diverted from county road commissions to help complete state highway projects like the M-5 (Haggerty Connector) project. In 1999, a second extension of M-5 was completed to 14 Mile Road, but only as an expressway. The final two miles (3 km) between 14 Mile Road and Pontiac Trail opened to traffic on November 1, 2002.
|Monroe||Frenchtown Township||0.000||0.000||—||I-75 – Detroit, Toledo|
|2.070||3.331||2||US 24 (Telegraph Road)|
|Ash Township||5.454||8.777||5||Carleton, South Rockwood|
|Ash Township –
|7.650||12.311||8||Will Carleton Road – Flat Rock||Eastbound Will Carleton Road access to Flat Rock; westbound access to Waltz and Carleton|
|Wayne||Huron Township||10.664||17.162||11||South Huron Road||Signed southbound as 11A (east) and 11B (west); north access to Willow Metropark|
|12.653||20.363||13||Sibley Road – New Boston||Provides access to Downriver and Pinnacle Race Course|
|Romulus||14.631||23.546||15||Eureka Road – Detroit Metro Airport||South airport access via John D. Dingell Drive|
|17.197||27.676||17||I-94 – Chicago, Detroit, Detroit Metro Airport||North airport access via Merriman Road; cloverstack interchange with three loops|
|Van Buren Township||19.869||31.976||20||Ecorse Road – Romulus||Connects to Willow Run Airport|
|Canton||22.012||35.425||22||US 12 (Michigan Avenue) – Wayne, Ypsilanti|
|24.987||40.213||25||M-153 (Ford Road) – Canton, Westland|
|Plymouth Township||27.551||44.339||28||Ann Arbor Road – Plymouth, Livonia|
|29.417||47.342||29|| I-96 east – Detroit
M-14 west – Ann Arbor
|Southern end of I-96 concurrency; exit not numbered for southbound traffic; exit numbers follow I-96's numbering from here north|
|Livonia||31.217||50.239||170||6 Mile Road|
|32.214||51.843||169||7 Mile Road||Signed as 169A (west) and 169B (east)|
|Livonia – Farmington Hills||33.272||53.546||167||8 Mile Road (Baseline Road) – Northville|
|Oakland||Farmington Hills||35.026||56.369||165|| I-96 west – Lansing
I-696 east – Port Huron
M-5 (Grand River Avenue)
|Northern end of I-96 concurrency at northern terminus of I-275|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
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- Michigan Department of Transportation (2009). Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in.:2.5 mi / 1 cm:1.75 km. Section C7–H7, Detroit Area inset.
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- Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation (1975). Official Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi / 1 in:23 km. Section M13–N13.
- United States nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita figures follow the "Measuring Worth" series supplied in Lawrence H. Officer (2013), "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?" MeasuringWorth. These figures follow the figures as of 2011.
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- "Road Officials Complain About Engler Money Grab". Ludington Daily News. October 24, 1995. p. 1.
- Hunter, George (July 30, 1999). "Work Is Nearly Done on Haggerty Connector Project: Officials Delay its Full Opening To Ease I-275 Jams". The Detroit News.
- Greenwood, Tom (November 1, 2002). "Ribbon Cutting Opens New Road". The Detroit News.
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