WARREN (WWJ) — A public meeting on the upcoming major road construction project along I-696 will take place this week.
The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to close all westbound lanes of I-696 between I-94 and I-75 next spring so the concrete can be replaced. MDOT Spokesperson Diane Cross on WWJ explains said they decided to close I-696 westbound instead of eastbound because it is safer and makes more sense.
“The reason we picked westbound is because it’s easier and safer to close the ramps from I-94 to westbound then drivers coming eastbound where we would have to stop the I-696 eastbound traffic and we’d also have to stop all of the ramps coming off I-75 going east,” Cross said. “That would be much more dangerous then trying to just close two ramps off of I-94.”
A public meeting on the project is planned for Oct. 24th at Warren City Hall from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The project is estimated to cost $90 million.
This construction project will impact thousands who use I-696. Officials estimate that roughly 150,000 cars and trucks travel on that stretch of freeway each day.
The decision to close all of the westbound lanes is also based on safety and to speed up the process. Cross said with all of the lanes closed on one side, the workers will be able to work in a safer condition and get the job done quicker.
“If we were to leave two lanes open with a concrete barrier that would then have two lanes in each direction, what happens when there’s a crash?” Cross said. “There’s no room for anyone to get through there, but also then this allows workers on the other side to work safely, bring equipment in and really get it done faster.”
The project is expected to be completed by late 2018.