Vernor Viaduct to temporarily close, cars to be banned from Roosevelt Park
Two big changes are happening soon involving the roads and parkland outside Michigan Central Station in Detroit.
The popular roadway connector between Corktown and southwest neighborhoods that runs beside the train depot, known as the Vernor Viaduct underpass, will temporarily close Sept. 7 for nearly six weeks.
And starting that same day, all roads through nearby Roosevelt Park in front of the depot will permanently close to vehicles in an effort to "unify" the park and make it safer and more enjoyable.
The viaduct underpass will undergone reconstruction work and reopen Oct. 15. The work is being undertaken and paid for by Ford Motor Co., which owns the long-vacant train station and since 2018 has been renovating the massive structure for its future use.
Motorists and pedestrians are advised to take detour routes around the viaduct during the temporary shutdown.
The city of Detroit is permanently closing the roads through Roosevelt Park to allow for the unification of the park so that it's no longer split by vehicle traffic. Those roads will eventually be torn up and removed in a future park reconstruction project set to begin next spring and finish in fall 2022, according to Detroit Public Works Deputy Director Dayo Akinyemi.
Once the viaduct underpass reopens Oct. 15, motorists going between Corktown and southwest will need to use other streets beside the roads that currently split the park.
"You won’t be able to drive through the park. We’ll have a road around the park," Akinyemi said. "There will be sidewalk paths through the park, but the roads we see right now will be going away.”
A Ford representative declined to give details on the type of reconstruction work that is planned for the viaduct during the period it will close to traffic.
The Roosevelt Park unification project is a result of neighborhood residents' feedback in a 2019 Greater Corktown Neighborhood planning survey that found strong support for the idea of a single park space.
Ford is making Michigan Central Station the centerpiece of its new Detroit mini-campus and hopes to finish renovating the building in 2023.