On July 7, 2017, a Notice of Intent (NOI) was published in the Federal Register announcing MDOT’s plan to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to review the impacts that may be associated with the modernization of the I-94 freeway in Detroit.
The SEIS will address modifications to the original design that was approved by the FHWA in 2005. It will consider how the modifications might impact a variety of resources, including air quality, historic and archaeological resources, parks, trails, plants and animals. The SEIS will also review the purpose and need for improvements and will describe the alternatives that were considered. The team will also analyze the project’s effects on community services, traffic through neighborhoods, noise and vibration impacts, and aesthetics. An analysis of effects on minority and low-income populations and the indirect effects of the project will also be studied.
The proposed modifications, first presented for public comment at the November 2016 open house meetings, were developed to address changes in the city of Detroit that have occurred over the past decade including, but not limited to, the redevelopment of Midtown. Overall, the focus of the design modifications is to:
- Better use existing city streets as local connections instead of building new, continuous service drives adjacent to the freeway as proposed in the original plan.
- Modify local access ramps to and from I-94, M-10 and I-75.
- Add “Complete Streets” bridges to provide multi-modal access, making them user-friendly for cars, bikes and pedestrians with wider walkways/paths separated from traffic and landscaping.
Once a Draft SEIS is completed and published, MDOT will provide a 45-day public comment period and schedule a public hearing to solicit public comments. It is expected to take approximately two years to complete the draft document. Public hearing dates, locations and times will be announced through a Notice of Availability that will be widely published through local media and on the project website (https://i94detroit.org) at the appropriate time.
While MDOT moves ahead with the SEIS, other parts of the project will progress as well. This includes the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction work on freeway bridges that are in very poor condition. This work was selected to continue because it is not impacted by the proposed modifications.
"The SEIS process will study alternatives proposed by stakeholders that may have the potential to improve local connectivity and mobility for the residents of Detroit."
MDOT SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER, I-94 MODERNIZATION PROJECT