I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project


The I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project will guide a transformational project that proposes to reconnect the city of Detroit from the physical and emotional division created decades ago in the name of “urban renewal”. This project is led by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in partnership with the City of Detroit. Beginning the framework process is the culmination of five years of planning, engagement, and conceptualization for raising the freeway to road grade and turning it into a boulevard. The framework effort will take us to an expected boulevard construction start in 2025 and finish in 2027.

While the project will be able to study the limits (envelope) of potential development on the developable parcels resulting from the boulevard design, it cannot address the disposition of land as part of the framework. The land is currently owned by the federal government as part of the interstate highway system. The State of Michigan and City of Detroit will work with the federal government to determine the guidelines governing the transfer of land.







The project proposes three elements of study, design, and research. The first is understanding the URBAN DESIGN profile of the project area, or how this area is developed to reconnect Downtown Detroit and the Riverfront to the surrounding neighborhoods. Next, comes developing the final BOULEVARD DESIGN, which will enhance the urban experience based on City of Detroit design standards. Finally, the framework will determine how DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION can be used to create opportunities for Detroiters, taking the history of the land into consideration. The City of Detroit wants all voices to be heard, not only about past experiences in Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, but also ideas on how to move the city forward.




I-375 Media Gallery



project area i 375



I-375 is no longer needed, and the aging infrastructure requires costly maintenance. The interchange with I-75 and the connection to Gratiot and Eastern Market will be upgraded to maintain speed on I-75 and remove the bridges, which are outdated. Current and estimated future traffic volumes will be accounted for in the new design. The way downtown connects to neighborhoods – both east and west, as well as north and south – will be improved, and some elements of the former street grid will be redesigned back into the road network, where possible. Both pedestrians and vehicles will be taken into consideration in the new design. This new infrastructure will enhance access to future development and other placemaking opportunities on the redesigned road.


The project process will create space for necessary conversations about the past and the exchange of ideas about future opportunities. Community engagement will be crucial to the effort being a success.



The project will help us identify opportunities for engagement with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion that connects the city, honors its past and creates a future built on the needs and wants of those who call Detroit home.


Frequently Asked Questions

The II-375 Reconnecting Communities Project is a transformative highway project converting I-375 and the Fisher HWY (Gratiot Connector) into a surface road; and using the residual parcels created for future development and open space.  The surface boulevard replaces 3 outdated bridges spanning the highway and reconnects downtown to Lafayette Park and Eastern Market. The Michigan Department of Transportation, in partnership with the City of Detroit, will develop a framework on the highway, urban design and development, and opportunities centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion through an extensive community engagement process.

The project updates the poor condition of the current infrastructure, interchange design and outdated bridges. It accomodates all users for future transportation needs and roadway safety, improves vehicular and non-motorized connectivity to surrounding area and existing and planned transit services; and enhances access to future development and other placemaking opportunities.

The construction is expected to start in 2025 and is expected to be completed in 2027.

The estimated construction cost of the project is $300 million with funding from federal and state sources.

No there is not a final design. There is a conceptual design based on the placement (location) and capacity of the new boulevard to handle current and future traffic.

The communities immediately adjacent to I-375 were engaged in community meetings open to the general public, community stakeholder meetings, and living room chats from 2017 up to 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The focus of the conceptual design was more on geometry and physical impacts to the surrounding area. The framework will capture the historic narrative and individual stories to honor and celebrate the past and connect to the future through the engagement process regarding I-375 and the impact it had on the Black Bottom, Paradise Valley, and other communities in the cause of its construction.

The framework and engagment process will seek to responsibly address any construction impacts from I-375's construction to the extent we can. How we address any impacts will be in partnership with the federal government and State of Michigan.

That cannot be decided until the final design is completed and the disposition is determined to understand what will be available. Development will be encouraged to have diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core principle in how the area is developed - from ownership, to contracting, to use. Community enhancements will be determined with community involvement and input as well. Discussions are underway with the federal government as to how the land disposition takes place (transferring land within federal and state regulations). Nothing has been pre-planned; and no decisions will be made until the transfer is better understood.

In addition to the Planning Department's website, check out the link above to the MDOT website for information on future community engagement events for I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project as well as more detailed information on the project itself.