Commuting could be slow for many Metro Detroit motorists next year as state transportation officials plan to spend at least several months and $90 million overhauling a roughly 10 mile stretch of Interstate 696 in Macomb County.
All westbound lanes are expected to be closed from Interstate 94 to Interstate 75 during the overhaul, which begins in spring 2018 and is expected to wrap by the end of the year and replaces concrete, Michigan Department of Transportation representatives said Wednesday.
The department is alerting drivers since the work involves a major thoroughfare that carries an estimated 150,000 vehicles daily, spokeswoman Diane Cross said.
“There are a lot of ways that people and businesses may be affected by this,” she said Wednesday.
MDOT has scheduled a public meeting Oct. 24 at Warren City Hall to offer details on the $90 million project.
The time line for the overhaul was moved up after federal funds became available, Cross said.
“If we wait until (Interstate) 75 is done and come back to 696, which would be 2024, we don’t know that there would be money,” she told The Detroit News. “The road is in bad shape. …It would be foolish to waste this kind of money that we might not get again. It’s federal money that will fix one of the biggest and busiest freeways in the state.”
The start and end dates for the project are expected to be determined by the construction company that wins a bid to handle the work next year, Cross said.
While crews replace the concrete on the interstate, the eastbound side is slated to remain open from I-75 to I-94, according to MDOT.
To cope with the westbound closure, the department suggests drivers take northbound I-75 to westbound I-696.
Eastbound I-94 traffic also is slated to be detoured via northbound I-75 to westbound I-696.
Meanwhile, the bridges over I-696 “are in good to fair condition due to investment on rehabilitation and maintenance-type work over the years, and will receive additional maintenance work,” MDOT said in a statement.
At the public meeting this month, drivers have a chance to meet the construction team as well as learn more about the schedule, types of work and detours.
The aim is preparation, Cross said. “It is going to be a very tough situation.”