LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Road crews are preparing for the first stage of a major MDOT project that will result in a major facelift to a two-mile section of 496.
Residents around the road construction had some of their final questions answered by project engineers Tuesday night.
The 496 project has been in the works since its announcement back in January.
Although it may be frustrating news for drivers, one official said they’re hoping to wrap up this multimillion-dollar project ahead of schedule.
“These projects are big and it would have taken a lot of money and a lot of time to get this type of work done under our normal work program. We’re getting the chance to do a lot of good safety improvements, mobility improvements for the community all at once with minimal impact,” said Trevor Block, an MDOT construction engineer.
Block said sections of west St Joseph street and east Malcolm X street will close April 18th, along with their connecting ramps.
“For them to get in and work on where the drainage system outlets into the Grand River. They are going to be working on that for a couple of months until all of that prep work is done and they are ready to detour the freeway traffic onto the service drive,” said Block.
MDOT officials expect that from June to November, 496 will close in both directions from the ramp that connects 127 to 496, all the way to Martin Luther King jr. Boulevard.
A third stage will reduce lane traffic between Martin Luther King jr. Boulevard and Lansing Road. Construction will then finish where it started by repairing any wear on the detour routes.
Drivers said they are not looking forward to the closures. Others are just hearing about it for the first time.
“I don’t know if you can really be ready for that. I think there will be a pretty good amount of people that will come through here but I mean, you got to fix the road,” said Raphael Mckenzie, a driver that uses 496 frequently.
Another driver said he uses the road every day for work but is willing to deal with a few closures to drive on better roads.
“I think it will be good, man, I think it will be good. Something we all needed. We all complain about the road and now they are out there fixing them, it’s go time,” said driver Demetriuis Hallums Jr.
MDOT officials said they plan to host other public meetings on the project in the spring and fall to gather more feedback from the community, as well as provide online progress updates.