Interstate 275 (Michigan)

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Interstate 275 marker

Interstate 275
I-275 bypasses Detroit to the west running from I-75 in Monroe County to an interchange with I-96 and I-696 in Oakland County
I-275 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-75
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 35.026 mi[3] (56.369 km)
29.97 miles (48.23 km) according to FHWA[1]
Existed: January 14, 1977[2] – present
Major junctions
South end: I‑75 near Monroe

US 24 near Carleton
I‑94 in Romulus
US 12 in Wayne

I‑96 / M‑14 near Livonia
North end: I‑96 / I‑696 / M‑5 in Farmington Hills
Counties: Monroe, Wayne, Oakland
Highway system
M‑247 M‑294

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.

Route description[edit]

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, I-275 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, the trunkline 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.[4][5][6]

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. Past I-94,[4][7] the highway crosses over the same CSX line and a Norfolk Southern Railway line [6]and passes a campus of Wayne County Community College and the headquarters of the Visteon,[4][7] a major auto parts supplier spun off from Ford Motor Corporation.[8] Near these two complexes, the freeway turns north again, running parallel to the east of Haggerty Road.[4][7] The freeway crosses over another Norfolk Southern Railway line also used by Amtrak trains from Chicago and Pontiac,[6] US 12 (Michigan Avenue) and M-153 (Ford Road) in Canton.[4][7] 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.[4][7] It also crosses over the same CSX line a third time.[6]

Photograph of the road signage at the split
I-275 southbound where it splits from I-96 and meets M-14

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 Freeway 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.[7] Other map makers and mapping service providers such as Rand McNally and Google Maps label their maps in accordance with MDOT and not FHWA.[4][9] 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.[4][7]

Bike trail[edit]

I-275 Metro Trail
Wintertime photograph of the snow-covered bike trail
I-275 Metro Trail in Canton, December 2008
Length 44.1 mi (71 km)
Location Monroe, Wayne, and Oakland counties
  • 16 along improved trail north of I-94
  • 8 along unrefurbished trail south of I-94
Use Hiking, biking

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,[10] along a 44.1-mile (71.0 km) stretch in Monroe, Wayne and Oakland counties.[11] 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.[12] There are 24 access points to the trail located at major cross roads along the route.[10] Since 2006, the Michigan Trails & Greenway Alliance and MDOT have been working to improve the bike trail.[10] 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.[12] In August 2009, MDOT held an open house to discuss construction work planned to improve the trail.[13] Further impacts by MDOT to the bikeway included closures in 2010 during reconstruction projects underway on the I-275 freeway.[14] Since a grand re-opening in 2011, the bike path has been called the I-275 Metro Trail.[15]


Original plans[edit]

Black & white map
Planning map for the Detroit area freeways from 1955

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.[16] The 1958 Numbering Plan for Michigan had this route marked as I-73.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] 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-mile (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.[2] The final cost to build the I-275 freeway was $145 million (equivalent to $786 million in 2012[21]).[18]

The Michigan Highway Commission canceled the northern section of the highway on January 26, 1977 after it spent $1.6 million (equivalent to $9.55 million in 2012[21]) the year before purchasing land for the roadway.[22] 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."[22] 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."[22] The total project to link Farmington Hills with Davisburg with the 24-mile (39 km) extension would have cost $69.5 million (equivalent to $377 million in 2012[21]) and saved drivers an estimated eight minutes off travel time around the city of Detroit.[22]

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.[2] After it was completed, I-96 was routed down I-275.[23] The original plans for I-96 in the Yellow Book routed that highway along a different routing into downtown Detroit, using a path adjacent to Grand River Avenue.[16]

New extension plan[edit]

Location: Oakland County
Existed: 1975[25]–May 1985[24]

A least one transportation study in the early 1970s identified the highway north of Novi as M-275.[25] The cancelled highway project was revisited by the State Transportation Commission in 1979 as M-275.[26] The renewed interest came after a vote of local residents showed a desire for the road.[27] 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 Dodge No. 4 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 $439 million in 2012[21]) price tag on the project.[26]

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. The state increased MDOT's budget by $602 million (equivalent to $1.99 billion in 2012[21]), but left the M-275 project off a priority list.[28] 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.[29] 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.[24] 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.[18]

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.[30] 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.[31] In 1999, a second extension of M-5 was completed to 14 Mile Road, but only as an expressway.[32] The final two miles (3.2 km) between 14 Mile Road and Pontiac Trail opened to traffic on November 1, 2002.[33]

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[3] km Exit Destinations Notes
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
MonroeWayne county line AshHuron township line 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
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)
WayneOakland county line LivoniaFarmington Hills city line 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (October 31, 2002). "Table 2: Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. OCLC 47914009. Retrieved December 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Freeway To Open Jan. 14". Ludington Daily News. January 8, 1977. p. 2. OCLC 27033604. 
  3. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation (2009). MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Cartography by Michigan Center for Geographic Information. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Google Inc. "Overview Map of I-275". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-83.328552&daddr=I-275+N%2FI-96+W&hl=en&geocode=%3BFSsYiAIdKvEG-w&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=0&sz=12&sll=41.964085,-83.38829&sspn=0.241497,0.256462&ie=UTF8&ll=42.243769,-83.39447&spn=0.480868,0.512924&z=11. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  5. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (2009). Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in.:15 mi/1 cm:9 km. Section M13–N13.
  6. ^ a b c d Michigan Department of Transportation (January 2011) (PDF). Michigan's Railroad System (Map). Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g 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.
  8. ^ Williams, Christopher C. (March 29, 2014). "Visteon's CEO Focuses on Growth: Shares Could Rise to $100 in the Next 12 Months". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ Rand McNally (2008). "Michigan". The Road Atlas (Map). p. 52, section I3, Detroit & Vicinity inset. ISBN 0-528-93981-5.
  10. ^ a b c Staff. "I-275 Bikeway". Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance. Archived from the original on November 10, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  11. ^ Staff (2007). "I-275 Bike Path". Trail Resources. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Staff (September 7, 2006) (PDF). Reviving the I-275 Bikeway: The Potential for Community Enhancement (Report). Michigan Trails & Greenway Alliance. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  13. ^ Morosi, Rob (August 5, 2009). "MDOT To Hold I-275 Bike Path Construction Open House" (Press release). Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 19, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ Taylor Transportation Service Center (February 11, 2010). "I-275 Corridor Improvements, Wayne County". Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  15. ^ Admin (September 15, 2011). "I-275 Grand Re-Opening". Friends of the I-275 Metro Trail. Retrieved June 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Bureau of Public Roads (1955). "Detroit and Environs". General Location of National System of Interstate Highways Including All Additional Routes at Urban Areas Designated in September 1955 (Yellow Book) (Map). p. 41. OCLC 4165975.
  17. ^ Staff (April 25, 1958). "Recommended Interstate Route Numbering for Michigan". Michigan State Highway Department. Archived from the original on August 5, 2004. 
  18. ^ a b c Richard, Tim (April 3, 1986). "I-275: The Interstate that Isn't". Observer (Livonia, MI). OCLC 22646576. 
  19. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation (1974). Official Highway Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi. Cartography by MDSHT. Section M13–N13.
  20. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation (1975). Official Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi / 1 in:23 km. Cartography by MDSHT. Section M13–N13.
  21. ^ a b c d e United States nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita figures follow the "Measuring Worth" series supplied in Johnston, Louis & Williamson, Samuel H. (2014). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 18, 2014.  These figures follow the figures as of 2012.
  22. ^ a b c d Stuart, Reginald A. (January 27, 1977). "Michigan Drops $69-Million Road". The New York Times. p. 18. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  23. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation (1978). Official Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi / 1 in:23 km. Cartography by MDSHT (1978–1979 ed.). Section M13.
  24. ^ a b "Road Extension Plans Won't Occur, Planner Predicts". Spinal Column Newsweekly (West Bloomfield, MI). May 1, 1985. 
  25. ^ a b Staff (1975). Proposed M-275, Oakland County. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of State Highways. 
  26. ^ a b Stuart, Reginald A. (November 25, 1979). "Michigan Revives Plan for Highway to Skirt Detroit". The New York Times. p. 23. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  27. ^ "North–South Corridor? As State Prioritizes Projects, Answer Needed on West Oakland Route". Spinal Column Newsweekly (West Bloomfield, MI). May 1, 1985. 
  28. ^ Mulqueen, Dennis (January 9, 1983). "M-275 Plans Languish in Legislature". Oakland Press (Pontiac, MI). OCLC 15217724. 
  29. ^ Basch, John (January 31, 1985). "M-275 Still Factor in Transportation Outlook". Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI). 
  30. ^ Greenwood, Tom (January 28, 1999). "M-5 'Haggerty Connector' Work To Be Done by 2001". The Detroit News. ISSN 1055-2715. 
  31. ^ "Road Officials Complain About Engler Money Grab". Ludington Daily News. October 24, 1995. p. 1. OCLC 27033604. 
  32. ^ 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. ISSN 1055-2715. 
  33. ^ Greenwood, Tom (November 1, 2002). "Ribbon Cutting Opens New Road". The Detroit News. ISSN 1055-2715. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing