Drivers, engineers prepare for massive I-496 project

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Big changes are coming to major roads and highways around Lansing.

A multi-stage plan announced by MDOT will renovate and reconstruct a two mile section of I496.

An engineer said massive project is an $80 million investment in the area and will accomplish four years of work in just two.

“So this is a great opportunity for us to just jump in and get it done all in one stretch,” said Engineer Trevor Block.

Block is a construction engineer and manger with the Michigan Department of Transportation working on major changes to parts of I-496, St. Joseph Street and Malcolm X Street. He said part of the funding is coming from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program.

With the usual funding the department gets, he said a multiple stage project like this would have been difficult to pass without the help.

“In order to do an $80 million project like this, it would more than likely be broken into two packages, probably two, two-year packages. So, we would probably be impacting around four years,” said Block.

The first stage would start in April with the resurfacing sections of St. Joseph and Malcolm X street that run parallel to 496 so they could handle the detour traffic from June to November.

The highway will close in both directions between Martin Luther king Jr. Boulevard and the Grand River.

One man that manages a gas station on St. Joseph street, said he isn’t worried about the extra congestion.

“My problem is not that, my problem is I want this store to be busy,” said gas station owner Ali Musleh.

The project will have a third stage where reduced lane traffic on I-496 as the section between Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Lansing road are worked on. Construction will then finish where it started by repairing any wear on the detour routes.

One driver said it will be worth the headache

“Whatever makes the city better, I’m all for it. I think everyone else would be pretty open to it as well even though they’ll have to make a few detours here and there. If it’s going to improve the roads in Lansing, they can shut everything down as far as I’m concerned,” said Anthony Wells.

Officials with MDOT said when the project finishes in 2023, drivers can expect a wider interstate, resurfaced sidewalks and updated ramps along I-496, as well as road construction focused on preventing wear and tear from freezing and thawing ground.

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