MDOT issued an advisory stating that Interstate 696 is “badly in need of repair” after two separate incidents Jan. 30 damaged vehicles traveling along the freeway. It referenced the looming projects to repair large stretches used by an average of 100,000 vehicles daily.

MDOT issued an advisory stating that Interstate 696 is “badly in need of repair” after two separate incidents Jan. 30 damaged vehicles traveling along the freeway. It referenced the looming projects to repair large stretches used by an average of 100,000 vehicles daily.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Advisory issued after vehicles damaged by 696 concrete

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published February 2, 2018

METRO DETROIT — A planned project to fix crumbling sections of Interstate 696 in Macomb and Oakland counties apparently can’t start soon enough.

Sources with the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Transportation confirmed reports of damage to two vehicles on the freeway Jan. 30, most likely caused by “kicked-up” chunks of the road’s surface left broken and crumbling by the winter’s relentless freeze-and-thaw cycle.

One incident was reported on westbound I-696 near the Interstate 75 interchange. Another chunk of concrete later apparently damaged a vehicle on the eastbound side of the freeway between Schoenherr and Groesbeck.

No injuries were reported, but drivers are being urged to exercise caution as the season wears on, while patching crews work to hold the road together ahead of major repairs planned for this year.  

“Unfortunately, when we hear that the infrastructure is crumbling, 696 is a perfect example of that,” MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross said. “We’re out there almost every day. We’re doing our absolute best to keep it as safe as we possibly can.”

Cross attributed the terrible state of the freeway to many years of underfunding and repairs akin to putting “Band-Aids on areas that have needed surgery.”

“That type of thing ultimately catches up. It is catching up to us now,” Cross said.

MDOT’s advisory issued Jan. 30 labeled the condition of the 40-year-old freeway as “badly in need of repair.” It referenced the looming projects to repair large stretches used by an average of 100,000 vehicles daily.  

Planned work includes a $90 million complete reconstruction of the road surface — along with repairs to the ramps, bridges, median barrier walls and shoulders  —  between Interstate 94 and I-75. An additional $20 million in work will involve various projects planned for nights and weekends along I-696 between I-75 and Interstate 275.

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said drivers can best stay safe by paying close attention to what’s happening on the road around them, keeping a safe distance between vehicles and using common sense when it comes to speed on deteriorating roads.  

“Get off your phone. That’s the main one,” Shaw said. “Don’t be distracted.”

He said any debris that hits a vehicle is most likely from the roadway and not falling from crumbling bridges.

If your vehicle is damaged, he said, the best thing to do is safely exit the freeway and contact the authorities.