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WB I-696 to close in Oakland County June 1

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

 

Westbound Interstate 696 between Dequindre and US-24 will be closed June 1 for repairs, Michigan Department of Transportation officials said.

The announcement comes a week after the agency said it would close the portion of I-696 but had to reschedule the work because of weather.

Broken pieces of old 696 concrete are loaded into the crusher, right, before they enter the grader machine, left, and crushed  into the proper size of agrigate for the base of the 696 project  in Warren, Friday morning, May 25, 2018.

Crews are scheduled to close the stretch of freeway and all of its entrance ramps at 9 p.m. June 1 and it will reopen at 5 a.m. June 4, according to MDOT.

The suggest detour from I-75 is westbound Eight Mile to northbound M-10 to westbound I-696 or U.S. 24.

Diane Cross, spokeswoman for MDOT, said crews are primarily doing pavement and joint repairs in isolated spots on I-696 westbound in Oakland County as opposed to the section in Macomb County between I-94 to I-75​​​​​ where they are replacing all of the concrete. 

A road construction worker removes undesired objects from the top of the grader before the stone is formed into the desired size of agrigate that will be used for the base of the new 696 project.

The repairs along westbound I-696 in Oakland County will continue through the summer, and motorists can expect weekend closures along the freeway, Cross said. MDOT will consider major events in Metro Detroit when planning the closures, she said. 

The desired size of concrete stones travel up this conveyor belt onto a pile that will be sampled and tested before it is used as the base under paved concrete for the 696 project.

Meanwhile, eastbound I-696 will remain open in both Macomb and Oakland counties.

But as westbound I-696 is completed in Macomb County, crews will cut a path through the median and reroute eastbound traffic to westbound lanes. Entrance ramps to the highway will remain closed and there will be at least three exits open.

Cross acknowledged that the traffic changes could be a challenge for motorists. 

“Anybody who has driven 696 knows how bad a shape it was in," Cross said. "For safety, we either close the road to fix it or we’d have to close the road (permanently) because it wouldn’t be safe to drive." 

Previously, I-696 in Oakland County had only lane and shoulder closures overnight to enable crews to cut pavement and perform drainage work.

The repair work is part of MDOT's "Restore the Reuther" project, which began at the end of April.

Under the $90 million project, crews are overhauling the westbound lanes of the heavily-used freeway between I-94 in Macomb County and I-75 in Oakland County. An estimated 150,000 vehicles travel the stretch of I-696 daily.

cramirez@detroitnews.com