MDOT: I-696 construction begins Monday, April 16, but no freeway closure yet

Crews prep for westbound I-696 construction between I-94, I-75

I-696 in Metro Detroit. (WDIV)

WARREN, Mich. – A $90 million construction project that will shut down westbound I-696 between I-94 and I-75 this year is set to get underway on Monday, April 16. 

However, work starting Monday won't involve a freeway closure yet, said Alan Ostrowski, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) project manager. The MDOT crews will be prepping the freeway for closure, which likely won't begin until the end of April or early May. 

UPDATE: MDOT to announce closure date

Ostrowski said drivers will see signs going up and temporary signals being installed on the service drive. Equipment also will be brought out, but closures should be limited to the service drive for now. 

When westbound I-696 is officially closed between I-94 and I-75, it's not expected to reopen until November. 

I-696 construction details

MDOT first announced the massive interstate construction project in October, saying due to poor condition the freeway must undergo concrete replacement on this stretch in Macomb County. Some bridges over I-696 will undergo maintenance work, too. 

MDOT said this project must be completed while funding remains available and before the nearby I-75 modernization project gets underway. The transportation department fears a delay in action would push the start of this I-696 construction project to 2024. 

According to MDOT, I-696 carries about 150,000 vehicles a day through Macomb County. 

This map shows the project plans: 

How this affects drivers

For starters, forget traveling on westbound I-696 between I-94 and I-75 this summer. The suggested freeway detour for westbound I-94 traffic which normally would merge onto westbound I-696 is for traffic to remain on westbound I-94 until reaching I-75 in Detroit. Then drivers can travel northbound on I-75 until it hooks up with westbound I-696. 

Eastbound I-696 will remain open between I-75 and I-94 for the duration of construction. 

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