Monday, May 24, 2010

MDOT bridges gaps in Southwest Detroit

The city of Detroit has a brand new landmark and tourist attraction - the award-winning Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza, open since May 5, 2010. This state-of-the-art cable-stayed bridge, part of the Michigan Department of Transportation's (MDOT) $230 million I-75 Gateway Project, is the first of its kind in the state. The 407-foot-long structure spans I-75 and I-96, two of southeast Michigan's busiest freeways, and has reconnected Mexicantown, one of southwest Detroit's oldest neighborhoods. Mexicantown has been divided since I-75 was built in the area in the late 1970s.

The Gateway Project is a major economic development project connecting area freeways to the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit's Mexicantown neighborhood. It includes:
  • Reconstructed freeways and a new interchange for I-75 and I-96
  • A pedestrian bridge connecting east and west Mexicantown
  • A redesigned Ambassador Bridge Plaza
  • Click here for detour information
"The pedestrian bridge is a significant part of the Gateway Project and its purpose goes beyond lending aesthetic beauty to the neighborhood," remarked MDOT Metro Region Engineer Tony Kratofil. "It is an investment in Mexicantown and southwest Detroit that will improve mobility, safety and quality of life for residents. This bridge, and the other Gateway Project infrastructure improvements, will help increase commerce by supporting the more than 600 businesses in southwest Detroit. It will attract new businesses, spur economic development, and support Detroit's $5 billion-a-year tourism industry by encouraging travelers to visit the Detroit Welcome Center, the Mexicantown community and attractions throughout the city and state."

To celebrate Mexicantown's heritage, Michigan artist Hubert Massey created two works of art that comprise the Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza Community Art Project. The art project was funded by a federal grant obtained by MDOT. The first work, entitled "Spiral of Life," is a mosaic of handcrafted tile in dramatic hues that traces the history and culture of the people who call Mexicantown home. he second work, called "The Spiral Kinship," is made of textured aluminum and features a vertical form that reaches 12 feet into the air. A bronze-colored globe mounted at its point represents universal kinship between two sovereign nations.

For more information on Contact:  Brenda V. Peek, MDOT Office of Communications, email:  Phone:248-483-5109, Agency: Transportation

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