DETROIT, June 3 /PRNewswire/ — As many metro Detroit business and political leaders drive toward the Mackinac Bridge for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference, the most recent and visible evidence of the Detroit Regional Gateways Advisory Council (DRGAC) partnership downstate is the construction of Michigan’s first tied-arch bridge in Taylor.
DRGAC — chaired by Frank Fountain of DaimlerChrysler Corporation — is a tourism action group of the Tourism Economic Development Council (TEDC), a division of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. The DRGAC is a public-private partnership established to oversee visual enhancements to the I-94 corridor between Detroit Metro Airport and downtown Detroit.
“During the next four years, hundreds of thousands of visitors attending the All-Star Game, Super Bowl XL, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and other events will pass between Metro Airport and downtown Detroit,” said Frank Fountain, senior vice president, DaimlerChrysler Corporation. “It’s essential that metro Detroit welcome visitors with an airport-to-downtown corridor that is attractive and well-maintained.”
Bridge builders are working on the structure to carry westbound I-94 traffic over Telegraph Road in Taylor. The bridge is expected to be completed and open to traffic in mid-August. In July, crews will begin erecting steel on the sister bridge which will carry eastbound I-94 traffic over Telegraph Road. The new bridges and subsequent realigned interchange will be completed in December.
The tied-arch bridge is just one part of a series of enhancement efforts along the I-94 corridor organized by the DRGAC. These efforts are on schedule to be done before Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5, 2006.
The DRGAC improvements begin at Metro Airport where two cultured stone signs were added to welcome eastbound I-94 drivers into Michigan. Additional plantings, lighting and covered fencing accompany the new signs, which were constructed in 2004.
The second aesthetic feature being driven from the DRGAC is the Woodlands Project. Decorative median lighting is being installed in the median between Beech Daly and Inkster roads. Landscaping accents will be added to seven bridges along I-94 from M-39 interchange in Allen Park to Brooklyn Street in Detroit.
When the landscaping projects are done, approximately 1,000 trees and more than 50,000 annuals will be planted between Metro Airport and downtown Detroit along the I-94 corridor. Crews will install 250 lights, and tower lighting will improve safety and the image of the corridor. As motorists approach the tied-arch bridges, decorative single arm streetlights will accent the new structures.
For many Detroit visitors, the improvements will not end along I-94. Crews have completed a majority of the work on replacing the Washington Boulevard Bridge over M-10. Known locally as the Cobo Tunnel, the project included rebuilding the bridge that hovers over M-10 in front of Cobo Center, replacing the outdated lighting in the tunnel with modern tube lighting and installing weave fencing for a more pleasant appearance.
In March, the DRGAC launched Project Front Yard in Taylor. Property owners along the I-94 Corridor from five suburban communities and the City of Detroit attended a workshop to develop strategies for improving the appearance of properties adjacent to I-94 between Detroit Metro Airport and downtown Detroit. The goal of Project Front Yard is to encourage property owners to help enhance the appearance of the I-94 corridor.
DRGAC member and Super Bowl Host Committee Executive Director Susan Sherer said: “The DRGAC is a model of regional cooperation that brings public and private sector leaders from across the region together to help metro Detroit put its best foot forward. Like the Super Bowl Host Committee’s efforts, this shows what we can accomplish when we’re united. Our goal is to leave behind a legacy of regional pride and cooperation that will enhance metro Detroit for years to come.”
Organizations participating in the DRGAC include:
Al Long Ford
American Axle & Manufacturing
The Auto Club Group
City of Detroit
Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Detroit Regional Chamber
Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee
DTE Energy Co.
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Corporation
Ghafari Associates, LLC
Michigan Department of Transportation
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
Wayne County Airport Authority