After years of study and debate, the Michigan Department of Transportation is moving ahead with plans to rip out Detroit’s I-375 expressway and restore a surface street there.

It won’t happen overnight. The soonest MDOT might move ahead is about 2022, provided details are settled and funding arranged.

But the commitment to remove I-375 and restore a surface street puts Detroit firmly in the ranks of cities trying to undo the damage done a half-century ago by ramming high-speed freeways through urban neighborhoods.

In its place, MDOT would create a surface street with landscaped medians, bicycle lanes and other amenities.

I-375 runs south from I-75 along the east side of downtown. The creation of I-75 and I-375 a half-century ago destroyed the historic African-American neighborhood known as Black Bottom, an episode that remains a painful memory for many older black Detroiters.