Short term headache, long term relief

By Matthew Murphy
News Editor

For local commuters, it has become clear that the section of the I-96 freeway between Telegraph and Newburgh Roads has reached the end of its life. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has initiated a project to reconstruct the freeway and its crossing bridges, modernize the infrastructure and drainage, and beautify the highway.

Beginning Mar. 24, 2014, both east and westbound directions will be completely closed. The scope of the project includes correcting drainage and infrastructure systems, updating and repaving overpasses, installation of LED lighting, improved landscaping, reshaping the sides, and reconstruction of the roadway. A new foundation will allow for an increase in vertical clearance beneath the bridges that span the Interstate. Also note that bridge construction will affect north-south travel and U-turn traffic flow in these areas.

Complete closure will cause maximum disruption, but the project will take much less time to complete. Dividing the work would cost significantly more in time and money.

“The road is rough and the bridges are crumbling. I worry about hitting a pot hole and damaging a tire. I’m glad they are going to repair it,” said Administrative Assistant for Student Activities Elizabeth Machniak. “I look forward to a smooth, trouble free commute and I also think it will improve the appearance of the surrounding communities.”

As a major throughway, the construction disturbance will cause headaches for many commuters; however, MDOT has established multiple sources for news, updates, and alternate routes to minimize the inconvenience.

On the web, go to www.96fix.com; the project can also be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/96fix or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/96fix. For alternative route information and maps go to www.MDOT.gov.

With I-96 scheduled to reopen this fall, commuters can look forward to a sleek, modern freeway to travel on beginning October 2014. This short-term inconvenience will help alleviate many roadway issues and allow for a smooth, speedy commute.