By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – A 27-month effort to build the M-1 Rail project, and transform the region, was scheduled to begin early Monday morning.

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The start of the construction signifies a major step for the project, which has been seven-years in the making.

“It took a lot of patience and a lot of commitment from all of our supporters,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer of M-1. “Hopefully this is the first piece of a much bigger public transit environment for everybody in southeast Michigan.”

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The light-rail project will stretch 3.3 miles along both sides of Woodward from Larned to West Grand Blvd. The streetcar will service 20 stations at 12 locations along the route.

But for Childs, he sees this project as a “catalyst” to help spur commerce and activity along the route and into the neighborhoods.

And in addition to having rail service along Woodward, improvements will be made to the utilities along the route and a new road will be laid.

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“When we’re done (Detroit) will have a whole brand new Woodward to live work and play on,” Childs said.