New Bike Lanes and Road Upgrades to Support FCA Plant Expansion with $3.9M from MDOT and Detroit

A major transformation of Conner Street on Detroit’s east side with $3.9 million in new public investments will add widened lanes, new bike lanes, and bus stops.
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Rendering of FCA assembly plant at former Mack Avenue Engine Complex site
Michigan granted the city of Detroit funds to upgrade Conner Street for easy access to the future FCA assembly site (pictured) at its former Mack Avenue Engine Complex. // Rendering courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

A major transformation of Conner Street on Detroit’s east side with $3.9 million in new public investments will add widened lanes, new bike lanes, and bus stops.

The investment will support the ongoing transformation of Detroit’s east side with $2.5 billion in new and upgraded plants for future assembly of the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and an all-new, three-row full-size Jeep SUV, along with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. It will also support the ongoing assembly of the Dodge Durango.

Nearly 5,000 jobs will be added by FCA in the city of Detroit. The added employment is being supported by a Transportation Economic Development Fund Category A grant of more than $2.8 million at a private/public investment ratio of more than 887-to-one, according to public officials. The fund was enacted in 1987.

Because of the FCA investment and an anticipated increase in traffic on Conner Street, which runs east of the plant, the roadway would have been impacted by transportation and logistical delays due to inadequate road capacity, conflicts with current bike lanes, and poor pavement conditions.

To increase road capacity, lanes will be added through lane reconfiguring and widening portions of the route. Bike lanes will also be reconfigured on the east side of Conner Street. The city will resurface portions of the roads and repair the concrete. The project also includes new bus stops and turnouts.

The city’s commitments in addressing these issues was a significant factor in FCA choosing Detroit for the facilities. The total project cost is about $3.9 million, including $2.8 million in TEDF Category A funding and more than $1 million (28 percent) from the city of Detroit.

Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF helps finance highway, road, and street projects that are critical to the movement of people and products and getting workers to their jobs, materials to growers and manufacturers, and finished goods to consumers. Its Category A grants provide state funding for public roadway improvements that allow road agencies to respond to the transportation needs of expanding companies.

“FCA appreciates the coordination of efforts between the city of Detroit and MDOT to secure funding for local road improvements that will support the addition of 5,000 new jobs at our Mack and Jefferson North Assembly plants,” says Marc Brazeau, head of logistics-North America at FCA. “We are equally pleased that these improvements will benefit local residents and businesses, as accommodations will be made for bicyclists and pedestrian access to local core services and recreational facilities.”

FCA is converting its Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the future assembly site for its next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and an all-new, three-row full-size Jeep SUV, along with plug-in hybrid models. The project will generate a total investment of $1.6 billion and create 3,850 new FCA jobs in Detroit. The new facility will be the first new assembly plant to be built in Detroit in nearly 30 years.

The company also will invest $900 million in its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to modernize it for continued production of the Dodge Durango and next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, creating an additional 1,100 new FCA jobs in the city.

The company decided to locate these two facilities in Michigan after considering production plans at its existing locations in Michigan, Illinois, and Mexico.

For the 2020 DBusiness list of 200-plus dealerships in metro Detroit arranged alphabetically by county and city, and then by dealer, click here.

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