A rendering of the M-1 project.

A rendering of the M-1 project.

M-1 RAIL completed its first phase of construction in downtown Detroit in time for America’s Thanksgiving Parade. After the floats, clown corps and spectators have departed on Thursday, vehicle traffic will once again be able to travel the downtown stretch of Woodward Avenue.  

“We had an aggressive schedule, along with a high standard for maintaining a clean and safe work site; and our skilled construction crews rose to the challenge,” said Paul Childs, M-1 RAIL chief operating officer. “We’re pleased to be ready to kick off the holiday season in Detroit.”

Construction Manager/General Contractor Stacy and Witbeck Inc., in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and local construction companies and suppliers, began construction of the downtown portion of the rail system in late July. Several Detroit-based firms, including Hart & Associates Construction and Farrow Group have been part of the construction.

After securing the work zone and erecting pedestrian fencing and bridges, detailed surveying was performed by crews prior to moving in heavy machinery to remove layers of asphalt and concrete to make way for the new track slabs. Over the course of four months in downtown, crews:

  • Installed electrical and telecommunications conduit
  • Received and welded steel track into 560-foot sections, then moved it onto Woodward Ave.
  •  Reinforced the steel track with an elastromeric grout pad or “rubber boot,” which provides vibration dampening and noise reduction.
  • Strengthened the imbedded rail with special thermite rail welds.
  •  Built and installed a supportive rebar substructure over the track to better support the concrete.
  •  Poured, levelled and texturized a high-performance, faster-curing type of concrete.
  • Removed layers of old asphalt, and then resurfaced with high-quality asphalt.
  • Installed granite curbs, reinforced manholes and completed temporary pavement striping.  
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