Construction on the M1-Rail streetcar has cleared a benchmark. Phase one in the Central Business District between Campus Martius Park and Grand Circus Park is done just in time for America’s Thanksgiving Parade and will open to traffic after the completion of the festivities.

“With the exception of some minor tasks, we are done with our work in this area for the year, but will return next year for track work from State St. to Larned. Woodward Avenue within the five-block stretch between Campus Martius Park and Grand Circus Park will be open to traffic.  That’s really important to the businesses that have been so patient throughout the construction.” – Paul Childs, M1-Rail chief operating officer

Those coming downtown for “Black Friday” or the 11th Annual Shop Detroit on Small Business Saturday this weekend will be able to use Woodward Avenue to visit their favorite Detroit retailers.  Starting at 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., Shop Detroit participants will enjoy holiday discounts at retailers located along Woodward Avenue and in the greater downtown area.

Progress has been fast and furious. Over the course of four months crews:

  • Installed electrical and telecommunications conduit
  • Received and welded steel track into 560-foot sections, then moved it onto Woodward Ave
  • Reinforced the steel track with an elastromeric grout pad or “rubber boot,” which provides vibration dampening and noise reduction
  • Strengthened the imbedded rail with special thermite rail welds
  • Built and installed a supportive rebar substructure over the track to better support the concrete
  • Poured, leveled and texturized a high-performance, faster-curing type of concrete
  • Removed layers of old asphalt, then resurfaced with high-quality asphalt
  • Installed granite curbs, reinforced manholes and completed temporary pavement striping

Construction farther up Woodward continues Monday, Dec. 1.  The reconstruction of the Woodward Avenue overpass over I-75 and I-94 will continue through the winter, as will DTE Energy duct bank installation and other utility relocation activities. During the winter months, crews will be focusing on DTE, Detroit Water and Sewerage and the Public Lighting Department on underground utility work.

“We met our goal of installing a quarter of a mile of new track in both the north-and-southbound lanes of downtown in four months.  We said Woodward would be ready in time for the annual Parade, and it is,” said Childs.  “We had an aggressive schedule, along with a high standard for maintaining a clean and safe work site and our skilled construction crews rose to the challenge.  We’re pleased to be ready to kick off the holiday season in Detroit.”

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