By Ron Dewey

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Crews were busy tearing up the pavement on the east side of Woodward Avenue at John R, Monday morning, as as construction began on a long-awaited commuter light rail project linking downtown Detroit to the city’s New Center area.

Woodward from Adams Street south to Campus Martius will be closed for about 120 days for M-1 Rail work. The roadway was shut down Monday.

Crews will remove concrete, install rail tracks, perform drainage work, and do repaving and utility relocation. Work typically will be done between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays — no late night or weekend construction.

As part of Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan talked about how the city is kind of going back to the future.

“You know, this is history today. It was 1956 that the street railways system was torn up in the city of Detroit. We have not had light rail in this city for more than a half a century,” said Duggan. “And if you’re gonna build a true city with real density, you’ve gotta have light rail.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks at a groundbreaking for the M-1 Light Rail project. (credit: Ron Dewey/WWJ)

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks at a groundbreaking for the M-1 Light Rail project. (credit: Ron Dewey/WWJ)

It is expected to spur economic and job growth along the Woodward Corridor; and M-1 officials say, over time, Detroit will see more people moving in along the route.

The 3.3 mile, $140-million streetcar will have 16 curbside and four median passenger stations and is expect around 6,000 riders in the first year.

The project is expected to take about 27 months — scheduled for completion in late 2016. During that time, said M-1 CEO Paul Childs, “The sidewalks are open, cross-streets are open, the parking decks are open, our great businesses and restaurants are open — they’re gonna be open throughout this process,” Childs said. “And we’d really like to encourage people to come on down, check out yet another outstanding development in the city of Detroit.”

The federal government has committed $25 million. Other funding comes from foundations and businesses.

MORE: M-1 To Bring Benefits To Woodward, Beyond [VIDEO]

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE