The Michigan Department of Transportation will be doing construction on both eastbound and westbound Interstate 696 in the spring of 2018, officials announced recently.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will be doing construction on both eastbound and westbound Interstate 696 in the spring of 2018, officials announced recently.

File photo by Edward Osinski


MDOT announces major I-696 construction project

By: Kayla Dimick, Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published January 18, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Commuters, prepare your detour maps now. 

In a press conference Jan. 4, officials at the Michigan Department of Transportation revealed a major construction project slated for Interstate 696 between Interstate 75 and Interstate 275. 

Starting in mid to late April, MDOT will perform a $20 million project of major repairs to I-696 throughout Oakland County, officials said. The project will be paid for by federal funds. 

The project includes major concrete repairs, joint repairs and flood mitigation efforts. 

Officials said work is scheduled to occur overnight with lane closures. The freeway will be completely closed overnight on the weekends. More details on the closures will be available once the project contract is finalized in the spring. 

Karen Mondora, director of public services in Farmington Hills, said in an email statement that MDOT’s major construction project on I-696 includes Farmington Hills.

“In Farmington Hills, the scope of work involves drainage maintenance and pavement repairs in both directions,” Mondora stated in the email. “MDOT expects that they will need occasional night and weekend closures to complete this work. While road construction is always an inconvenience to motorists, we are encouraged that MDOT is investing in infrastructure.”

Mark S. Saksewski, a traffic engineer in the Public Services Department of Farmington Hills, echoed his thoughts on the road repairs that are scheduled on the Oakland County portion of I-696.  

“It’s our understanding all or the majority of the work will take place with lane closures during the week and full closures of the highway on the weekends,” he said.

According to Diane Cross, MDOT spokesperson, the project will wrap up in late fall 2018 — just in time for the 2019 major 10-year project on I-75. 

The I-75 project was originally scheduled to take place over a 20-year span, but that timeline was recently cut in half, Cross said. 

“It’s really because the I-75 mega project has changed. That’s the schedule that has then become the one that is the domino effect that affects this,” Cross said at the press conference. “We either do 696 in 2018 or we have to wait maybe five years before we can get back in there. Because of that being moved up ahead of time, we had to move everything else ahead of time.”

By moving ahead the timeline of the project, officials said, the east/west corridor on the interstate will remain open to traffic during the 2019 I-75 construction at the I-696 interchange. 

Alan Ostrowski, MDOT project manager, said the I-696 project needs to be done now. 

“Two big reasons: The first is condition. It’s time — it’s ready. It’s lived its life, particularly the stretch in Macomb County,” he said. “And the second reason would be a strategic reason to coordinate with the major work on I-75 that’s coming in 2019. We do not want two major corridors in the Detroit metro area — especially two that intersect each other — to be under construction at the same time.” 

Lane closures will be required for overnight work 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, MDOT officials said. 

Weekend closures will occur between 9 p.m. Fridays and 5 a.m. Mondays. Detours will be posted during weekend closures.

“Our primary goal in this stretch in Oakland County is to not take any lane closures during the day and during the week, and that’s how we’re set up right now,” Ostrowski said. “Those lane closures and full closures are limited to nights and weekends.” 

Ostrowski said MDOT is hoping to get at least 30 years out of the new pavement. 

For more information on the I-696 project, go to michigan.gov/mdot.

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik contributed to this report.