Crews have been patching the pavement on I-696 for years, so it’s safe to say that it’s time for a complete rebuild. MDOT has first reconstructed the eastbound side, shifting all the traffic to the westbound side.
With the snow returning this weekend, MDOT jumped at the opportunity to repaint lane markers and shift traffic over ahead of schedule.
“The sun’s peeking out,” said MDOT Construction Engineer Brian Travis. “So it allowed us to get this done today.”
Shifting all eastbound I-696 lanes between I-275 and Telegraph to westbound I-696 which means only two lanes will get by in each direction for the remainder of the year.
“So we’re completely reconstructing the eastbound from I-275 to Lahser Road the whole stretch, all the ramps, bridges, culverts, everything, so it’s quite the investment in this roadway,” Travis said.
Travis says he’s been working on this project for years. Once the funding was available, MDOT took action to restore the Reuther.
“When the Rebuilding Michigan projects were announced from the governor’s office, this is one that rose to the top of the list due to the age of the freeway and the pavement condition,” Travis said.
In addition to the reduced lanes on the nine mile stretch, certain ramps will remain closed through the year.
“There’s three that will stay closed—Southbound Orchard Lake to eastbound I-696 to American Drive and northbound Telegraph to eastbound I-696,” Travis said.
The project has much to keep up with, so MDOT has created a website for the latest info.
The rebuild is set to be completed at the end of 2024, with less distributive work to be completed in 2025.