Repairs were underway Feb. 13 on a section of eastbound I-696 between Dequindre and Mound roads. Emergency work to remove crumbling concrete and install a hot asphalt material was expected to continue on dry days over the next several weeks on 2-mile segments east of I-75. Pothole repairs will continue as needed along I-696 between I-94 and I-275 in Macomb and Oakland counties.

Repairs were underway Feb. 13 on a section of eastbound I-696 between Dequindre and Mound roads. Emergency work to remove crumbling concrete and install a hot asphalt material was expected to continue on dry days over the next several weeks on 2-mile segments east of I-75. Pothole repairs will continue as needed along I-696 between I-94 and I-275 in Macomb and Oakland counties.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Emergency repairs planned for troubled roads

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 15, 2018

WARREN — Drivers can expect to experience periodic headaches and delays in the form of lane closures, as work crews will rely on dry weather conditions to perform a series of emergency repairs to Interstate 696 in Oakland and Macomb counties.

On Feb. 13, Michigan Department of Transportation spokesperson Diane Cross said repairs were underway and that projects would be performed in 2-mile segments on sections of eastbound I-696, beginning with a stretch between Dequindre and Mound roads. The work involves emergency pavement repairs that include the removal of deteriorated concrete.

“It is not pothole filling. They’re taking the time to remove the crumbling concrete, make sure it’s cleaned out, and then putting in a hot asphalt mix. Because it’s dry, that is able to adhere to the concrete that’s out there,” Cross said.

She said part of the contract to perform the repairs included paying early startup costs for the asphalt contractor, who is now making the hot mix earlier in the season than normal.

Additionally, pothole repair will continue on both the eastbound and westbound lanes of I-696 between Interstate 94 and Interstate 275.

While potholes will be patched on the westbound side between I-94 and Interstate 75, more substantial emergency repairs will not be performed because of the planned closure and complete replacement of those lanes set for this spring. According to an MDOT release, crews planned to treat a section of westbound I-696 with a liquid asphalt solution that includes a mixture of stone or recycled asphalt.

Cross said the emergency repair contract is in effect for the coming month, at least, to address the worst concrete on eastbound I-696, while less durable pothole filling continues throughout the stretch. She said motorists can expect periodic delays, even during rush hour, through work areas, as traffic is forced to merge to accommodate the lane closures.

“What drivers really need to expect is that if it’s a dry day, we’re going to be working from dawn to dusk,” Cross said. “If it’s a dry day, we’ve got to use it.”

According to MDOT, the freeway is used by an average of 100,000 vehicles daily, putting it atop the busiest sections of road in the state.

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said previously that reports of vehicle damage from concrete on sections of I-696 were most likely the result of kicked-up material from the roadway surface and not from crumbling bridges. Police cautioned drivers to obey the speed limit, avoid distractions and pull off the road safely if their vehicle is damaged by potholes or flying debris.

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

Plans call for the project to commence when the weather breaks this spring. When it does, I-696 will be closed to westbound traffic between I-94 and I-75 for the duration of the project. The westbound lanes of the freeway will be reconstructed first. Once that’s completed, traffic heading east will be diverted to the newly constructed lanes on the westbound side while the eastbound lanes are rebuilt.

The project is expected to be completed later this year. MDOT’s official detour for westbound I-696 will send motorists south along westbound I-94 to northbound I-75.

Additional work on I-696 between I-75 and I-275 in Oakland County will include another $20 million in various projects planned for nights and weekends during the upcoming construction season.