The Michigan Department of Transportation is starting a $1.2 million project on the eastbound Interstate 696 service drive near Royal Oak and Pleasant Ridge that will include, among other work, the removal of the southernmost lane of the road where it meets Main Street.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is starting a $1.2 million project on the eastbound Interstate 696 service drive near Royal Oak and Pleasant Ridge that will include, among other work, the removal of the southernmost lane of the road where it meets Main Street.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MDOT project on service drive to reconfigure lanes, improve road

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 6, 2019

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PLEASANT RIDGE/ROYAL OAK — The Michigan Department of Transportation recently started a million-dollar project on the eastbound Interstate 696 service drive on 10 Mile Road, near Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak.

The $1.2 million project by MDOT will see intersection and pedestrian safety improvements on the eastbound I-696 service drive at the “M-1 (Woodward Avenue) service drive, along with M-1 at Washington Avenue and Washington Avenue over M-1,” according to a press release.

Jeffrey Pitt, senior construction engineer at MDOT’s Oakland Transportation Service Center, said a big change on the service drive will be the removal of the right or southernmost lane on the eastbound road where it meets Main Street.

“We will be actually reducing the lane-age on the eastbound service drive by one lane, but our left-turn lanes will actually be going to dual left-turn-only lanes,” Pitt said. “Right now, we have a left-turn and a left-through lane. So those will be converting to left turn only.”

One of the reasons the lane removal is happening is to improve safety for pedestrians, Pitt said.

“We’re going to reduce the crossing distance of the road by the removal of that one lane,” he explained. “We’re going to remove that, and we’ll be shifting the curb line over. That’s where we get the reduced pedestrian crossing distance.”

With the two northernmost lanes on the eastbound road converting to left turn only, the remaining two southern lanes will be dedicated to either getting onto I-696 or staying on the service drive.

Pleasant Ridge City Manager James Breuckman said in an email that he believes the elimination of the service drive lane won’t impact traffic.

“As I understand it, MDOT modeled the changes before they proceeded with the project. While this will be a change and there may be an adjustment period for drivers, I believe that traffic will flow better after the project than it does now,” he said.

The project also will include “cold milling and resurfacing on the eastbound I-696 service drive, repairing curbs and gutters, drainage structure repairs, approach work, upgrading sidewalk ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, widening the sidewalk on the Washington Avenue bridge over M-1, M-1 sidewalk work at Washington Avenue, and M-1 service drive work at the I-696 service drive,” according to the release.

Pitt said the service drive wasn’t in terrible condition, but still was in need of resurfacing.

“We will be doing … a capital preventative maintenance resurfacing,” he said. “We’ll be grinding off an inch and a half and putting in an inch and a half of new material back. So we did have some rutting and some pavement degradation out there that wasn’t … terrible, but at the same time, it was something that we felt we needed to address.”

The release states that there will be single-lane closures on the northbound and southbound M-1 service drives, and lane closures on the eastbound I-696 service drive and Washington Avenue. There also will be multiple and frequent changes to lane closures in these areas, and drivers are being asked to pay attention to the portable message signs on each roadway advising of the changes.

Royal Oak City Engineer Matthew Callahan said he expects the project to cause delays and advised drivers to seek alternate routes if possible. He added that the project will include improved signage.

“In the long run, it will be better for people to pick a lane as they’re coming off the freeway heading east and to know which lane is supposed to turn and which will go straight,” Callahan said. “(Construction will) go through October.”

The contractor performing the work is C.A. Hull Co.

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