MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - This holiday season, the Michigan Department of Transportation is giving cross-town drivers a holiday gift by planning to reopen 696 in Macomb County in both directions by the start of winter.
MDOT says on their site that both directions of the interstate will be opened by winter, which starts on December 21.
The $90 million rebuild project spanning both Oakland and Macomb Counties started in April and was supposed to be reopened by October. However, inclement weather and labor disputes delayed the project.
All 28 miles of 696 have been under construction at some point throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The stretch in Macomb County has been getting the brunt of the work and has been the most affected by the lane closures.
The project, dubbed "Restore the Reuther" is being done to fix the highway used by tens of thousands of drivers every day.
The project started on April 27 and, assuming it reopens on December 21, it would be a total of roughly 8 months where the westbound lanes have been closed.
The project had to be completed now, while funding was available, before MDOT widens I-75 near 10 mile. That project is part part of the I-75 modernization which widens the highway from 8 Mile to just south of M-59.
If this 696 project had been put on hold, MDOT may not be able to work on the freeway until 2024.
Eastbound lanes have been open throughout the construction project.