Michigan DOT Promotes DBE Opportunities with Detroit I-375 Project

Detroit's East Side is getting some major roadwork upgrades.

Source : Contractor News

June 24, 2024

Author : Patty Allen

The Black Bottom and Paradise Valley is situated in Detroit’s East Side and is one of the oldest and poorest neighborhoods in the city. During the urban renewal process of the 1960s, the 1-mile highway stretching northwards from Jefferson to Mack Avenue was built by forcibly evacuating people in nearby communities. One such victim of urban renewal was the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods. 

Six decades down the line, Michigan DOT is back again in these areas working on the I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project. The project, officials explain, will help reconnect the east side with the downtown and build a six-lane (expanding to nine-lanes at some junctures) boulevard. It is forecasted to restore the former glory of the communities, which have remained deprived since the last MDOT construction. 

MDOT has said that this construction will help to enhance traffic safety, and better connectivity for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists to downtown Detroit.

The project has been in the oven since 2014, but it has garnered steam since last year when Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came to Detroit to announce a funding of $104.6 million for the project. 

The construction is set to begin in 2025 and be done in two years. However, several Detroiters are skeptical and are urging MDOT to revisit the project plans and add the perspectives and opinions of the community members who live adjacent to the highway. 

In a bid to appease the local dissatisfied gentry, which comprises primarily the African-American population, MDOT is planning to implement a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and local workforce development programs. These local minority-owned businesses would play key roles during the entire project lifecycle (pre-construction, construction and post-construction) phases. 

MDOT wants to create a thorough and effective engagement and outreach program to maximize DBE participation in the I-375 project. This includes training, connecting, and recruiting certified DBEs and Small Business Enterprises (SBEs).

Category : Department of Transportation Freeways and Highways

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