I-96 reopened after construction that began last April

Road will still undergo small changes


DETROIT – It's the first full day I-96 has seen traffic since April. The seven miles of freeway that have been closed off officially opened Sunday night.

It was all bumps and potholes on I-96 after the brutal winter last year. But it's smooth sailing now, as the road is void of potholes after a long wait for the freeway to reopen.

"It's just been a real pain," said Brian Penna of Redford. "It's good to be open now, finally. I'm surprised we're open that quick."

It looks good," said David Washington of Redford, "It looks like it should last a long time. We just need to take care of it."

The construction included seven miles of freeway, 37 reconstructed bridges, 140,000 displaced drivers and countless minutes tagged on to drive times.

"It's actually affected our business quite a bit," said April Parker of Clinton Township. "We've just noticed a lot of customers avoiding us because of it, so it's been a struggle but we're really excited for it to be back up."

Though drivers can rejoice that I-96 is finally open, the project doesn't fully wrap up until next year. So wait what does that mean?  Even though the freeway is open to traffic, more painting needs to be done on the service drive, work needs to be done to the barriers along the freeway, and you can even expect to see orange barrels popping up on the roads as well.

"The roadway and what people drive on, you'll find those to be open, and if we do have to close them, they will be non-peak time periods between roughly usually 9 a.m. to 3 p.m." said MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross.

The nearly $150 million road project that closed 96 between Newburgh and Telegraph wrapped up ahead of schedule. It was originally pegged for October.

"To have all that traffic back into a contained space, driving at posted speeds, that frees up the residential areas and just helps everybody to have it reopened," Cross said.

MDOT says contractors receive a $150 thousand bonus daily and if it took longer than expected they would be penalized the same amount for an unlimited amount of days.