Major WB I-696 closure scheduled through Macomb County for 2018

(WXYZ) - A major closure is scheduled for westbound I-696 through Macomb County that will shut down traffic for most of 2018.

MDOT said the highway is in bad shape.

"Anybody who drives that from I-94 to I-75 through all of Macomb, you know just how bad that road is," said Diane Cross, MDOT representative. 

All 10 miles of this portion of WB I-696 will be shut down in 2018, a $90 million project. Cross said it has to be done, beginning in the spring.

"Initially, 696 was supposed to be repaired in 2020, but the funding because of the I-75 and 696 modernization project that has been changed has been sped up," Cross said. "We either do this now or we may not come back to this until 2024."

Cross said the official detour for drivers will be westbound I-94 into Detroit to reconnect with northbound I-75 back up to connect with WB I-696.

"Unfortunately, we realize that's something people may not do, but because we're talking about 75,000 a day who may be affected, we need to keep that volume as freeway to freeway," she said.

Drivers can also choose to take mile roads - such as 11, 12 and 8 Mile - but those roads are already congested. 

"A lot of people will say, 'Well, why can't you split it? Why can't we use two lanes in each direction?'" Cross said. "It's not safe. The safest thing for construction crews and drivers is to close one direction completely so they're protected by a concrete barrier wall." 

Details on start and end dates are still being finalized, but if you live in Macomb County, brace yourself for major traffic delays. 

The closure will be in effect for almost all of 2018, Cross said. 

For more information, visit movingmacomb.org. 

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