MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross said that if permanent concrete work on Interstate 696 cannot be completed this year, construction will facilitate a temporary solution until the project can be completed in the spring.

MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross said that if permanent concrete work on Interstate 696 cannot be completed this year, construction will facilitate a temporary solution until the project can be completed in the spring.

Photo by Brian Louwers


MDOT keeping ‘eye on weather’ as work on I-696 continues

Freeway and ramps will reopen, even if weather means temporary fixes until spring

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published October 12, 2018

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WARREN — Will the weather hold long enough for them to put Interstate 696 back together again, permanently and according to plan?

It’s Michigan, and that’s anybody’s guess. But the Michigan Department of Transportation has offered a seemingly realistic outlook for the potential fate of its massive Restore the Reuther endeavor to reconstruct a stretch of the freeway in Macomb County.

In a statement released Oct. 10, MDOT indicated that while construction has now resumed after a labor dispute halted work for most of September, “The schedule will continue to be managed with an eye on the weather, which will be the determining factor in whether all work is completed this year or lanes and ramps are temporarily reopened until they can be permanently completed in the spring of 2019.”

The ambitious $110 million project began in April, and the project timeline has called for work to be completed by the time bad weather hits in November. Eastbound traffic has been maintained — first on the eastbound lanes, and later on the newly rebuilt westbound lanes after they were completed this summer — but much work remains, including most of the eastbound stretch of the freeway east of Dequindre and many ramps.  

The statement continued, “When we left off, we were preparing the base material for the first concrete pour on the eastbound side. In the time since work resumed, the first concrete pour and subsequent pours have been completed as we proceed east from Dequindre Road placing new pavement.”

On Oct. 11, MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross said the contractor still has until early November to complete the project on schedule. With forecasts already calling for nighttime temperatures to drop into the 30s, if permanent concrete work cannot be completed this year, she said that construction will facilitate a temporary solution until the project can be finished permanently in the spring.

“Before you’re seeing snow, real snow, we’re going to have the freeway open,” Cross said. “The synopsis is we’re going to open both east and west 696 and the ramps before winter. That’s going to happen no matter what. We will have both directions open and the ramps open.”

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