Motorists who commute on Interstate 696 should start looking for alternate routes before the westbound lanes shut down for a summer-long construction.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Transportation warn the lane closures could start within the next few weeks.

“Chances are it could start by the end of April, but we don’t know,” said Diane Cross, MDOT spokeswoman.

MDOT officials last year announced a $90 million project to overhaul a roughly 10-mile stretch of the interstate in Macomb County.

All westbound lanes are expected to be closed from Interstate 94 to Interstate 75 during the upgrade, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Cross said the closure date will be determined when a contract is approved. Once the contract is approved, Cross said construction will begin almost immediately.

“Once we know, we will announce the closure date and it will happen pretty fast,” she said.

The route is expected to affect 50,000 to 70,000 drivers during the summer, Cross said.

That closure coincides with another I-696 project MDOT officials announced this year to repair 18 miles in Oakland County. The $20 million effort includes asphalt joint repairs and concrete replacement between Interstates 94 and 275.

The state is tackling both projects at once in hopes of finishing work in time for the start of reconstruction on I-75 in Oakland County next year.

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