M-1 RAIL begins underground utility relocation work, shutdown of Woodward Avenue is not required: Utility Relocations Will Not Prevent Customer Access to Businesses on Woodward

Posted: 12/20/13

Today M-1 RAIL began utility relocation work along Woodward Avenue, it’s the first step toward full-fledged construction activities of the 3.3-mile streetcar system. Public access to businesses will not be prevented by the utility relocation work.

M-1 RAIL’s Construction Manager/General Contractor, Stacy and Witbeck, along with Detroit-based utility contractor Blaze Contracting, Inc. started relocating a catch basin located at the southwest corner of the median at Congress and Woodward.

“The relocation of underground utilities will allow the project to move rapidly once track construction along Woodward Avenue begins next year,” said Paul Childs, Chief Operating Officer, M-1 RAIL.  “Today we’ve prudently taken an important step toward fulfilling our mission of delivering a modern streetcar system to Detroit.”

Workers are expected to spend anywhere from five to 12-days at eight isolated worksites along Woodward Avenue from Larned Street to John R. Street, barring any unforeseen circumstances.  Workers will finish activities at one site before moving to the next.

Each worksite will require an excavation approximately 10ft x 10ft in order to relocate or replace catch basins, storm manholes or water main gate valves.  Crews are permitted to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. as necessary.

“We will be using traffic control barrels, signs and barricades to establish temporary lane closures, but our utility relocation work will not prevent customer access to businesses along the Woodward Corridor.  We are not shutting down Woodward Avenue for these eight worksites,” said Tom Gilman, Project Manager, Stacy and Witbeck.  “This work will eventually require some temporary utility shut-offs, but to minimize the impact to businesses and residents, we have a strategy in place to provide advance notice to the affected parties.”

The intersections where underground relocation work will be done over the next few months, in no particular order, are as follows:

  1. Southbound Woodward at Congress
  2. Northbound Woodward South of Campus Martius Park
  3. Northbound Woodward at Cadillac Square
  4. Southbound Woodward at Michigan Avenue
  5. Southbound Woodward, North of Campus Martius Park
  6. Southbound Woodward at State Street
  7. Southbound Woodward at Grand River
  8. Woodward and John R

Other Utility Relocation Activities

M-1 RAIL is not the only group doing utility relocation in preparation for the new streetcar system. Other utilities including DTE Energy, Comcast and MCI have received permits from the City of Detroit to reposition underground facilities in preparation for the streetcar project. These partners are directing their own activities in the street, however M-1 RAIL is in close coordination with all of these activities.

Questions / Information

All questions about these utility relocation activities can be directed to the M-1 RAIL Hotline: 1-800-511-3931 or by sending an e-mail to info@m-1rail.com.  More details can be found at www.M-1RAIL.com.  Keep updated with the latest news about the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Progress Made in 2013

  1. Finalized engineering plans
  2. Established community and business stakeholder advisory councils
  3. Initiated Business Support Program to assess businesses’ needs
  4. Hired Construction Manager/General Contractor Stacy and Witbeck
  5. Connected with hundreds of businesses and community organizations
  6. Begin relocation of underground utilities along Woodward Avenue
  7. Obtained bids from streetcar vendors, currently conducting due diligence

Looking Ahead to 2014

  1. Finalize the intergovernmental agreements that will permit mainline construction to commence along Woodward Avenue
  2. Solicit for roadway subcontractors and suppliers for the mainline construction work along Woodward Avenue
  3. Continue pursuit of the necessary real-estate acquisitions and issue a design-build RFP for the vehicle storage and maintenance facility
  4. Move administration office to a new space located at 1426 Woodward Avenue shortly after the New Year

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