Greetings Citizens, Employees Commuting into Businesses Located in Auburn Hills, and Visitors to our Community,
This year has been a productive, but hectic roadway construction year in Auburn Hills. While there is no best time to conduct road construction activities without disruption, it is certainly something that has to be done. In Auburn Hills, we pride ourselves on maintaining an exceptional infrastructure that supports all of our neighborhoods and the business community. Moving traffic safely and efficiently is one of the hallmarks of a great community. This leads me to inform everyone that Michigan’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), the new interchange at University Drive and I-75, will soon be open. No doubt it has been an inconvenience for many of you who travel about in Auburn Hills, but we believe it will be worth the wait. The project, conducted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) as the owner of the bridge, is expected to open to drivers sometime next week. At the moment it opens, it will be with little fanfare. The barricades will simply be removed, the signals activated, and away we’ll go. Perhaps you might find yourself being the first to drive over it.
This substantial project came at a cost of approximately $25 million. The Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority, an economic development arm of the City, contributed $4 million to make it happen. It will clearly be a one-of-kind bridge for Michigan. This project is perhaps the pinnacle of innovation and collaboration. Although DDI’s do exist in other parts of the country, as previously mentioned, this is Michigan’s first. One might say that constructing it was the easy part. Funding on the other hand, is where the collaboration comes in. Through direct legislative support, the State government, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Auburn Hills, and the City’s Tax Increment Finance Authority, many came together to make this project come to fruition. In addition, local corporations added their support by lobbying for this improvement to happen. Many people were involved and the City of Auburn Hills says “thank you” to all of them.
I hope you are as enthusiastic as I am about the opening of the DDI in the days ahead. As a City, we could never apologize enough for the inconvenience it has caused, but everyone must also know that the previous bridge was so drastically structurally compromised that it had to be replaced. As this will likely be the first time most of you have driven through a DDI, please take extra caution and please be patient. Like anything new, it will take a little getting used to at first. But if traversed appropriately, you will find it an effective means of moving through the interchange.
Safe driving to all!
Tom Tanghe, City Manager