2015 will be 'banner year' for M-1 Rail construction, work on Campus Martius section to begin soon

Construction will begin on the Campus Martius portion of the 3.3 mile-long M-1 Rail project Monday, April 20, and is expected to end in October. These were among a number of details revealed during an hour-long meeting with M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer Paul Childs Thursday morning.

Though he characterized it as a world-class park, Campus Martius is going to present a number of challenges to M-1 Rail work crews, says Childs. Tight spaces, nearby underground parking garages, and a "park at a funny angle" all contribute to a methodical four-phase construction process. Still, M-1 has no plans to shut down public access to the park at any point.

The traffic loop around Campus Martius will also remain open. The only complete road shutdowns throughout the process will be due to the track terminus south of the park. Because of the installation of a custom-made track required at the end of the line, M-1 Rail crews will shut down Congress Street for a ten- to twelve-day period.

Moving north past Campus Martius, Childs announced M-DOT's plans for two to three mid-block crossings to be installed in the Midtown area. Pedestrians attempting to cross the nine lanes of Woodward between traffic signals will have a couple of "pedestrian refuges" to stop and wait while oncoming traffic clears. Just how these mid-block crossings will look remains vague.

Utility work and track installation will continue up Woodward throughout the year. The reconstruction of the I-75 and I-94 overpasses should be completed by the end of 2015. Childs described the 2015 construction schedule as aggressive, though exact dates are hard to come by. There's always a tension, he says, between a desire for exact dates and more realistic but general completion times. "There are so many dependables that you can't give dates until the next phase is completed."

The M-1 Rail is still on track to open in late 2016. The Penske Tech Center, where train cars will be serviced and M-1 will be headquartered, could be complete as soon as the end of 2015.

Source: Paul Childs, M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.