(FOX 2) - Good news for drivers in Macomb County -- MDOT says I-696 will be back to normal shortly after the new year.
The $90 million project that was slated to be done in November is now expected to be completed in the first week of January. A reopening date has been scheduled for January 7, 2018.
Diane Cross with MDOT tells us crews will begin the process of shifting back traffic on January 2, 2019. They have to change lane markings back, shift the entrance and exit ramps and take barrier walls down.
Depending on weather and temperature, that process is expected to be completed by Monday, January 7, and at some point during that day drivers will be able to go east on eastbound and west on westbound once again.
It's been roughly eight months since the project started. A mandatory work stoppage back in September put things behind schedule.
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 had to be completed now, while funding was available before MDOT widens I-75 near 10 mile. That project is 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.
I-696 will stay completely open through springtime, when MDOT has a couple smaller projects to button up. Cross says the projects wouldn't warrant complete shutdowns like this big one, though.