Interstate 275 Michigan

Interstate 275 Michigan
History
North End
South End

Overview

Interstate 275 forms a western bypass of Detroit from north of Monroe to Romulus, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DET), Canton and Livonia. The freeway was originally planned to reconnect with Interstate 75, following a course just west of West Bloomfield and Waterford. It was not completed as U.S. 23 already provided a long distance bypass between Toledo, Ohio and Flint.

I-275 traverses mostly rural areas of northeastern Monroe County to the east of Carleton into semi-rural areas of western Wayne County. The freeway leads north to Eureka Road (Exit 15), which provides access to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DET) for travelers originating from Monroe and Toledo to the south. The route shifts westward from the airport perimeter to converge with Interstate 94 in Romulus.

The remainder of Interstate 275 north parallels Haggerty Road as a commuter route along a mixture of industrial areas, apartment complexes and business parks. A large directional cloverleaf interchange at Livonia brings Interstate 96 north onto I-275 west from the Jeffries Freeway opposite the freeway along M-14 west to Ann Arbor. I-96/275 overlap 6.5 miles north along a commercialized corridor to Farmington Hills and Novi. I-275 ends at a large interchange complex where I-96 resumes a westward heading to Lansing, I-696 ties in from Southfield to the east and M-5 intertwines from Farmington to Novi.

History

I-275 was not included in the initial 1,080 mile Interstate system proposed by the state of Michigan in 1954. Area growth in the Detroit suburbs however made the route a necessity. The recommended Interstate Route Numbering for Michigan in 1958 determined that the through routes for urban area Interstates should be numbered along the planned circumferential routes:

The travelling public generally prefers to follow a continuous numbered route on long trips and we feel that designating the urban connectors as the through route would tend to discourage the use of the circumferential route. We believe that the travelling public should be encouraged to use the circumferential route and the urban connectors relieved of unnecessary traffic through the urban area.

In Michigan, particularly, the circumferential routes will be built and completed and ready for operation for a considerable length of time prior to the completion of the urban connecting routes.

The recommended numbering for urban routes in the Detroit area included Interstate 98 for the route east from I-96 to I-77 (eventual I-75) north of Detroit and Interstate 73 for the route north from I-75 south of Detroit to I-75 northwest of Detroit. A letter dated August 29, 1958 from the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) to the Michigan State Highway Department indicated that

If we were to apply 2-digit numbers to metropolitan areas, we estimate that we would have to have several hundred 2-digit numbers which, of course, is impossible. The two digit numbers, by policy, have been reserved for major road sections of the Interstate System in rural areas and for the urban extensions of those rural sections.

Furthermore AASHO recommended that Interstate Route 73 west of Detroit be changed to Interstate 294 and Route 98 to the north of Detroit changed to I-696. The state of Michigan responded to AASHO on September 12, 1958, recommending that 275 be used in place of 294, as the route connects with I-75 to the south and may be extended northerly to link with I-75 north of Detroit. AASHO concurred with final approval on December 18, 1958.

Construction for the entire 58 mile long proposed route was estimated to cost $95 million and planned to start in segments between January 1970 and July 1971. The Monroe County portion was scheduled for bidding between February and June 1971.1

As originally envisioned, Interstate 275 was to lead north from I-75 at Newport to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Romulus where it would turn west for about three miles then continue north to Plymouth and Northville to meet I-75 again midway between Detroit and Flint. 14 interchanges were proposed on the 30 mile route between I-75 and Interstate 96 in Oakland County.1

Construction along Interstate 275 ran through 1977. The final 26 mile long section ran north from U.S. 24, north of Monroe, to M-153 (Ford Road) in Wayne County. The $250 million project was completed on January 13, 1977 with six overall lanes. The last section built tied into a three mile stretch between I-75 and U.S. 24 and the 11 mile section north to I-696 at Novi that both opened in 1976.2

The remaining 24 mile long segment of proposed Interstate 275 leading north from I-696 to I-75 northwest of Pontiac was canceled in 1977. Protests from Oakland County residents cited that the route was not necessary and that it would take away from needed agricultural and recreational land. The projected path also took I-275 through a 200 acre wetland that was home to the southernmost stand of black spruce in North America. Planners subsequently shifted attention to the upgrading of U.S. 233

Route Information

  • North End – Farmington Hills, MI

  • South End – Newport, MI

  • Mileage – 29.97

  • Cities – Romulus, Wayne, Westland, Plymouth, Livonia, Farmington Hills, Novi

  • JunctionsI-75 I-94 I-96 I-696

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-275 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Source: 2017 AADT – MDOT Traffic Volumes Map

Detroit, MI - 1976
Detroit – 1977/78 Michigan Official Highway Map

A four mile section of Interstate 275 opened to traffic in 1975 from M-153 (Ford Road) to temporary ramps at Schoolcraft Avenue near Plymouth and Livonia.4

I-275 Michigan - 1974 Map
Interstate 275 proposed in 1974
Very few maps showed the unconstructed section of I-275 leading north from I-96 and 696 at Novi back to Interstate 75. A five mile stretch of this route was eventually built as the Haggerty Connector (M-5).

North End I-96 I-696 M-5 – Farmington Hills, Michigan

I-96 West I-275 North at I-696 M-5

I-96/275 north at I-696/M-5 - Farmington Hills, MI

Exit 167 departs I-96/275 north for 8 Mile Road in Livonia, 2.25 miles south of the exchange with I-696 east and M-5 (Grand River Avenue). Photo by Eric Stuve (07/09/17).

I-96/275 north at I-696/M-5 - Farmington Hills, MI

I-96 branches to the west in one mile to Novi and Lansing while a collector distributor roadway (former Exit 165) extends north to M-5 and I-696 east. Photo by Eric Stuve (07/09/17).

I-96/275 north at I-696/M-5 - Farmington Hills, MI

M-5 (Grand River Avenue) ties into the cloverleaf interchange with I-96/275/696 from Farmington Hills to the southeast. M-5 runs between the roadways for I-96 northwest to the Charter Township of Commerce. Photo by Eric Stuve (07/09/17).

I-96/275 north at I-696/M-5 - Farmington Hills, MI

An Interstate 275 end shield assembly precedes the Ten Mile Road overpass by adjacent industrial areas. 11/07/09

I-96/275 north at I-696/M-5 - Farmington Hills, MI

Three ramps depart in succession from the c/d roadway at the north end of I-275. The first departs for the freeway along M-5 east to the city of Farmington. M-5 north from I-696 travels initially as a freeway, then as an at-grade expressway to Pontiac Trail. Photo by Eric Stuve (07/09/17).

I-96 East at I-275 I-696 M-5

I-96 east at I-275/696/M-5 - Novi, MI

The first sign for the interchange complex with I-275 south, I-696 east and M-5 north appears one mile ahead of Novi Road on Interstate 96 east. 11/06/11

I-96 east at I-275/696/M-5 - Novi, MI

Exit 162 departs I-96 east for Novi Road, 1.25 miles ahead of I-696 (W.P. Reuther Freeway) east and the trumpet interchange with M-5 north. 11/06/11

I-96 east at I-275/696/M-5 - Novi, MI

The left three lanes default onto Interstate 696 east, which connects I-96 with M-5 (Grand River Avenue) southeast to Detroit and I-94 east to Port Huron. I-96 continues east with two lanes to combine with I-275 south through Farmington Hills and Livonia. 11/06/11

I-96 east at I-275/696/M-5 - Novi, MI

Meadowbrook Road spans Interstate 96 east at the separation with I-696. Interstate 696 quickly splits thereafter with M-5 (Grand River Avenue) south. M-5 east from I-696 is the historical alignment of Interstate 96. 11/06/11

I-696 West at I-96 I-275 M-5

I-696 west at I-75/275 - Farmington Hills, MI

The third in a series of diagrammatic signs outlines the separation of Interstate 696 west with the two lane exit for M-5 north, M-5 south and I-96/275 south. Photo by Scott Steeves (11/05/06).

I-696 west at I-75/275 - Farmington Hills, MI

Interstate 696 defaults onto I-96 west to Livonia 1.75 miles beyond Exit 1. Photo by Scott Steeves (11/05/06).

M-5 South at I-96 I-275 I-696

M-5 south at I-96/275/696 - Novi, MI

M-5 south partitions with a two lane c/d roadway for 12 Mile Road and I-96 west ahead of the trumpet interchange with I-96/275. Photo by Frank Gillon, Jr. (05/20/07).

M-5 south at I-96/275/696 - Novi, MI

M-5 south becomes M-5 east as it transitions to the freeway spurring east from Interstate 696 to Farmington Hills. Just beyond the bridges across the Walter P. Reuther Freeway is the slip ramp onto adjacent I-96 east / I-275 south. Photo by Frank Gillon, Jr. (05/20/07).

M-5 south at I-96/275/696 - Novi, MI

I-96 turns south from Novi to Livonia as it travels along side I-275 to the freeway along M-14. I-275 provides a bypass of Detroit for the 60 mile drive to Toledo, Ohio.
A loop ramp departs from M-5 east next for I-696 east to Smithfield, Warren and St. Clair Shores. Photo by Frank Gillon, Jr. (05/20/07).

South End I-75 – Newport, Michigan

I-275 South at I-75

I-275 south at I-75 - Berlin Twp, MI

An inverted trumpet style interchange provides full access from I-275 south to I-75 leading back north to Wayne County and Detroit and continuing south to Monroe and Toledo, Ohio. A similar interchange joins the south end of I-390 with I-86 in the Southern Tier of New York. 11/07/09

I-75 North at I-275

I-75 north at I-275 - Frenchtown Twp, MI

Interstate 75 heads north from Monroe into Frenchtown township to the split with I-275 north at Exit 20. Photo by Doug Kerr (06/23/13).

I-75 north at I-275 - Frenchtown Twp, MI
I-75 north at I-275 - Frenchtown Twp, MI

I-75 continues northeast toward the city of Detroit, while I-275 follows a northerly course to Interstate 94 at Romulus. Photos by Doug Kerr (06/23/13).

I-75 South at I-275

I-75 south at I-275 - Berlin Twp, MI

Interstate 75 south at Exit 21 for Newport, 0.75 miles ahead of Interstate 275. Since I-275 in effect does a U-turn for motorists on I-75 south, no control point is used in this direction. 11/07/09

I-75 south at I-275 - Berlin Twp, MI

The entrance ramp from Newport Road adds a fourth southbound lane to Exit 20 with Interstate 275 north. 11/07/09

I-75 south at I-275 - Berlin Twp, MI

Interstate 275 leads back to the north toward U.S. 24 (Telegraph Road), Carleton and Romulus while I-75 advances southward to the Monroe bypass. 11/07/09

I-275 South End Throwback

I-275 South at I-75

I-275 south at I-75 - 2007

Labo Road spans I-275 south at Exit 2 for U.S. 24 (Telegraph Road). Two miles of I-275 remain as the freeway reduces from six to four lanes. This set of signs was replaced by 2011 to use Clearview font. Photo by Dan Garnell (07/27/07).

I-275 south at I-75 - 2007

I-275 advances southward 0.75 miles from Newport Road to Interstate 75. This sign was replaced by 2011. Photo by Dan Garnell (07/27/07).

I-275 south at I-75 - 2007

Two lanes default traffic onto I-75 south for the rural drive to Toledo. This set of signs was replaced by 2009. Photo by Dan Garnell (07/27/07).

I-75 South at I-275

I-75 south at I-275 - 2007

This set of signs posted at the folded diamond interchange (Exit 21) with Newport Road was replaced with Clearview font based panels by 2009. Photo by Dan Garnell (05/05/07).

I-75 south at I-275 - 2007

Succeeding signs for Interstate 275 north were replaced by 2009. Photo by Dan Garnell (05/05/07).

I-75 south at I-275 - 2007

I-75 crosses Little Swan Creek at Exit 20 for Interstate 275 north. The suburban freeway passes between a number manufactured home communities just to the west. Photo by Dan Garnell (05/05/07).

Sources:

  1. “I-75 Traffic Is Routed Directly toledo.” Toledo Blade, November 12, 1971.
  2. “Opening Of I-275 Link Lessens Driving Time To Metro Airport.” Toledo Blade, November 12, 1971.
  3. “Michigan Expressway Changes Prompt New Look By Toledo.” Toledo Blade, March 18, 1977.
  4. Highways 250 through 696, Michigan Highways (Christopher Bessert).

Page updated July 26, 2021.