Published March 4, 2009
Road, bridge work to hit I-696 commute
By Brian Louwers firstname.lastname@example.org
WARREN — A slate of improvements along I-696 is set to continue well into 2009, with work already under way at the Mound Road interchange, in Warren, and more projects planned for stretches of the freeway in Macomb and Oakland counties.
According to Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Rob Morosi, the state’s massive, $24-million bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction project that began last fall will continue on the ramps and bridges that link the freeway to Mound, and Mound to the freeway.
“That was a project that started last September,” Morosi said. “Right now the ramps are closed, which are the eastbound exit to north and southbound Mound, and the westbound exit to north and southbound Mound. Those are closed most likely until June.”
Morosi said the closure would allow crews to tackle much-needed work on the bridges and ramps connecting I-696 to Mound in both directions.
Eastbound and westbound traffic will be rerouted to Mound along posted detours; from the east, along the service drive west of Van Dyke and from the west, along the service drive east of Dequindre.
“Once we do the exit ramps and the big flyover bridge we still have to rebuild Mound over I-696, Mound proper,” Morosi said. “That will come later this spring. We’ll tackle that likely by the end of March or the first part of April.”
In addition to the ramp and bridge closures, Morosi said motorists could also expect to experience daytime single-lane closures at times on both sides of the freeway between Van Dyke and Mound as a result of the bridge work. He added that multiple lanes could be closed at night and on the weekends during the project.
Other projects will include pavement rehabilitation, bridge work, and slope restoration between Hayes and Nieman, east of Gratiot, and bridge rehabilitation and pavement repairs along a 13-mile stretch of I-696 between Drake Road and Campbell Hilton, just west of I-75.
The later project is set to involve single-lane closures in segments during the day over the life of the project, scheduled to run from April to mid November. Again, Morosi said most of the closures would stem from necessary bridge repairs.
“Basically ever since 2000 we’ve been very aggressive in our bridge rehabilitation. I believe in the last five years we’ve spent as much on bridges as we have on pavement,” Morosi said.
“We’re going to do our best obviously during peak travel periods to keep as many lanes open as we can. We will not be able to keep all lanes open at all times, based on the bridge work and the way we have the plan laid out,” Morosi said. “Weekends are going to be a little more challenging. We would recommend alternate routes. We hope the public understands that while it is inconvenient, the work is necessary.”
Updated information and maps about MDOT road and bridge construction projects can be found online at www.michigan.gov/mdot.