696 work stalled

(Photo: Mike Campbell/WWJ)

I-696 Construction May Not Be Finished Before Winter

October 11, 2018 - 6:42 am

MACOMB (WWJ) - Work on I-696 may not be finished before the snow flies.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says contractors have returned and are diligently working to have both eastbound and westbound lanes on I-696, along with all ramps, open to traffic before winter hits. However, the work schedule is based on the weather and depending on the conditions, the project might not be finished before winter. 

If crews can't get it done, lanes and ramps will be temporarily reopened until they can be permanently completed in the Spring of 2019.

"We appreciate your patience," MDOT said in a statement.

Some motorists, like Crystal Ziski, weren't too happy to hear about a possible delay in the project. 

"Spring? Really? Oh man, that's not good," Ziski told WWJ's Mike Campbell. "I hope we don't have to wait through the winter because it's going to be even worse -- accidents every where."

Others, like Gene Smith, said they expected this to happen. 

"I'm not (surprised) at all, unfortunately. It's the Michigan DOT, it's typical," Smith said. "My hope is that they'll at least have the barrels out of the way enough so they can get the snow plows through."

The I-696 project was stalled for more than 20 days in September due to a labor impasse between the contractors’ association and operating engineers’ union. Originally, MDOT estimated work on the project would be completed by November. 

Reminder: Westbound I-696, including all entrance and exit ramps, remains closed in Macomb County. The first ramp for westbound traffic is Couzens Avenue. Several ramps along eastbound I-696 are also closed; traffic only has access to Dequindre Rd., Mound Rd., 11 Mile Rd., M-53 (Van Dyke Ave), and both directions of I-94.