'Operation Eastside' targets speeding drivers on I-696

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Fair warning: Michigan State Police are on the lookout for speeders through Macomb County on Wednesday on Interstate 696, in what police are calling "Operation Eastside."

Operation Eastside will pick up at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, per Lt. Mike Shaw, a spokesman and commander for the state police in Metro Detroit.

The enforcement effort, announced more than 90 minutes ahead of time via Twitter, will stretch from Hoover to the west to I-94 to the east, was spurred by "public complaints about speed and aggressive drivers," Shaw wrote.

Michigan State Police patrol the state's almost 9,700 miles of trunkline roads and freeways, and from time to time announce highly visible enforcement operations.

In January 2018, state police ran a similar operation for similar reasons on the Southfield Freeway. They pulled over 47 motorists for speeding, distracted driving, tailgating and multiple lane changes, and discovered four people with warrants. 

Shaw told The News that "the goal is never to write tickets. Never has been, never will be. The goal of our traffic safety initiatives is to prevent crashes and change behavior."

In 1989, the speed limit on I-696 was 55, and in 2007 it bumped up to 70 from 65. While a number of freeways went up to a 75 mph speed limit in 2017, I-696 was not one of them, and was not considered, Shaw said.

As a page on the MDOT "Moving Macomb" website notes, 180,000 vehicles travel the 25-mile freeway per day, and "many Michigan residents call I-696 'Detroit's Autobahn' because of the way people drive its lanes."