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Road crews will be working more hours to fill potholes on Interstates 696 and 75 in Macomb and Oakland counties starting Thursday, Michigan Department of Transportation officials said.

They said crews will be working on the potholes for the next few days until forecasted snow arrives. 

The work, officials also said, may affect commuters during rush hour traffic in the morning. To avoid delays, motorists should check MDOT's MiDrive website or app.

MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said details of the repairs and schedules will be released in the next day or two.

The news comes a day after MDOT officials met to discuss how to address I-696's deteriorating condition. The meeting was prompted by reports from two motorists that concrete chunks struck their vehicles as the traveled on the freeway.

MDOT officials don't believe the concrete came from any of the freeway overpasses as the motorists reported to police.

Cross said they believe the concrete came from the freeway's pavement and was flung into the air by other vehicles.

"Our bridges (on I-696) are in good shape," she said. "The roads are crumbling and chances are any concrete came from there."

On Wednesday, MDOT officials involved in maintenance, construction and senior leadership from three offices met via a conference call Wednesday to talk about solutions for the problem, Cross said. They're still working on a course of action, she said.

"We're looking at all kinds of things that we're going to try," she said. "We're probably going to try a few different things in different locations, but we don't have the details yet."

The possibilities include fixes such as pothole repairs and using a different type of concrete sealant, she said.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles travel I-696, a 40-year-old freeway that runs east to west from I-94 in St. Clair Shores to I-96 in Novi, daily.

In some spots like the stretch between 11 Mile and Mound roads, the average daily traffic can reach more than 200,000 vehicles, according to MDOT.

The agency announced in October plans to perform major repairs of I-696 in the spring.

MDOT will spend $20 million on work on the freeway in Oakland County and $90 million on reconstructing I-696 in Macomb County. The project is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

 

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