3-year project to rebuild part of I-96, add flex route in Oakland County to begin Monday

Flex route will be added to ease traffic congestion

Work is scheduled to get underway this week for a three-year project to rebuild a portion of I-96 in Oakland County, which includes adding a “flex route” to ease traffic congestion.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that starting on Monday, March 21, work will begin to rebuild eastbound and westbound I-96 between Kent Lake Road and the I-275/M-5/I-696 interchange in Oakland County.

When completed, this portion of I-96 will become the latest flex route in the state, letting drivers know when an additional lane is available during peak travel times. US-23 has a similar flex route option, which was built a few years ago.

Funding for the project comes from Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan campaign, which she announced back in 2020, a $3.5B bonding plan that aims to rebuild the state’s highways and bridges through 2025.

“It is pretty simple: no one likes sitting in traffic. It takes away from valuable time at home, with friends, or at work. That is why we are excited to announce the beginning of this project in Oakland County to safely and efficiently alleviate road congestion. Orange cones and barrels are hitting the road as work begins on our Flex Route where the freeway shoulder can be used by motorists during peak travel times, to save drivers time on their commutes. ,” said Whitmer. “Since taking office, Michigan has rebuilt, replaced, or repaired over 13,000 lane miles of road and over 900 bridges while supporting 82,000 jobs. But that progress does not mean our work is over, and I will keep working hard to jump start even more projects to fix the damn roads with the right mix and material so they stay fixed.”

I-96 project details:

This three-year project will be done in stages. The first stage will begin on March 21 with improvements made to the eastbound and westbound median and outside shoulders, as well as temporary crossovers installed to shift traffic during the project.

Starting in late May through late fall 2022, eastbound and westbound I-96 traffic will be shifted onto the westbound lanes between Kent Lake Road and Wixom Road, with two lanes open in each direction to accommodate the rebuilding of the eastbound lanes.

During median drainage work, I-96 traffic will have three eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes between Wixom Road and the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange. The following ramps will be closed during this stage: the northbound and southbound Kent Lake Road ramps to eastbound I-96, the northbound and southbound Milford Road ramps to eastbound I-96, the eastbound I-96 exit ramps to Milford and Wixom roads, and the Milford and Wixom road ramps to westbound I-96. This first stage will be finished and ramps reopened by late fall 2022.

In 2023, rebuilding will continue on eastbound I-96 from Wixom Road to the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange. I-96 traffic will have two eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes shifted onto the westbound side of the freeway through these limits.

In 2024, westbound I-96 will be rebuilt from the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange to Kent Lake Road. I-96 traffic will be shifted to the eastbound side of the freeway, with two lanes open in each direction.

The I-96 Flex Route project includes rebuilding the freeway, rebuilding the median shoulders for use during peak periods, sign upgrades, and active traffic management installation, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment, overhead gantry installation and ramp signals for metering traffic onto the freeway. Electronic message boards will alert drivers with speed advisories and travel information.

Find more construction news here.

I-96 project profile. (MDOT)

Related: Construction to resume on M-59 in Macomb County on Tuesday: What to know


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.