Written by David Shepardson
DETROIT (Reuters) – A demolished interstate highway in Detroit will turn two historic black neighborhoods into an urban street — one of 26 major infrastructure projects the Biden administration will fund newly.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $104.7 million to replace the one-mile highway I-375.
Its construction in the 1950s and 1960s paved the way for two thriving black neighborhoods, displacing people, small businesses, and churches. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer put the number of displaced people at 130,000.
The funding, which is intended to stimulate economic development, will go to realigning the slopes near I-375, installing calmer traffic measures and wider sidewalks as well as reconnecting neighborhood streets to the Avenue.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said other affected communities could use government funding to address highway damage.
“Creating the kind of streets that this community envisions is going to be a great future for how the streets and avenues will look in this city, which is important because it addresses the damage done to an essentially black community by the wound that I-375 created.”
The United States planned more than 40,000 miles of interstate highways in the 1950s. Many people like I-375 were routed through historically black and slum neighborhoods.
The Department of Transportation said Thursday it will award $1.5 billion to 26 projects, including I-375.
These include $150 million for a new road and port of entry in Mesa, California along the Mexican border, $110 million to redevelop one of the nation’s largest food distribution centers in New York and $70 million to rehabilitate more than 100-years of railroad track in Chicago .