One of the state’s busiest highway corridors should start getting some much-needed maintenance this week.
Portions of I-696 in Macomb and Oakland counties are literally crumbling. Some motorists have reported getting hit by flying chunks of road debris.
The situation has forced the Michigan Department of Transportation to do some emergency repairs.
“This is a freeway that takes 150,000 cars per day,” said MDOT construction engineer Jim Petronski. “So it gets a lot of use and we need to make sure people can use it safely.”
On eastbound I-696 from I-275 to I-94, crews will make repairs to joints separating the lanes, “including removal of the current crumbling material.” On the westbound side, for a shorter span between I-94 and I-75, crews “will treat this area with a liquid asphalt solution.”
Petronski says crews are also looking to patch up a busy section of I-75 in southern Oakland County, between 12 Mile Road and Rochester Road.
This comes ahead of a long-term, $110 million reconstruction project for those stretches of I-696, slated to start in April.
“There’s a big project coming, but we’ve got to hold it together for three months just to get there,” said Steudle. “We knew we were going to be getting close, but we’re running out of life left in that pavement.”
The short-term repairs are expected to cost around $5 million, and that money comes out of MDOT’s maintenance budget, which is separate from MDOT’s capital budget for those large road projects.
But Steudle the wreckage this winter has left of Michigan roads means that “projects that we were going to do this summer from a maintenance perspective, we’ve had to put into pothole patching.”