OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (Fox 2) - Construction begins next week on the new flex lane on I-96 in Oakland County.
A flex lane is a lane on the shoulder of the freeway that is only open to traffic during peak travel times to relieve congestion. Construction on the project, which is funded by the Rebuilding Michigan program, will start March 21.
The I-96 Flex Route will be added from Kent Lake Road to the I-275/M-5/I-696 interchange. It includes rebuilding the freeway, rebuilding the median shoulders for use during peak periods, sign upgrades, and active traffic management installation, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment, overhead gantry installation and ramp signals for metering traffic onto the freeway.
The three-year project will be done in stages. The first stage includes improvements the eastbound and westbound median and outside shoulders. Temporary crossovers will be installed to shift traffic during the project.
In late May through late fall, eastbound and westbound I-96 traffic will be shifted onto the westbound lanes between Kent Lake Road and Wixom Road, with two lanes open in each direction while the eastbound lanes are rebuilt.
During median drainage work, I-96 traffic will have three eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes between Wixom Road and the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange. These ramps will close during this stage:
- The northbound and southbound Kent Lake Road ramps to eastbound I-96
- The northbound and southbound Milford Road ramps to eastbound I-96
- The eastbound I-96 exit ramps to Milford and Wixom roads
- The Milford and Wixom road ramps to westbound I-96
The first stage will be finished, and the ramps will be reopened by late fall.
"It is pretty simple: no one likes sitting in traffic. It takes away from valuable time at home, with friends, or at work. That is why we are excited to announce the beginning of this project in Oakland County to safely and efficiently alleviate road congestion. Orange cones and barrels are hitting the road as work begins on our Flex Route where the freeway shoulder can be used by motorists during peak travel times, to save drivers time on their commutes. ," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "Since taking office, Michigan has rebuilt, replaced, or repaired over 13,000 lane miles of road and over 900 bridges while supporting 82,000 jobs. But that progress does not mean our work is over, and I will keep working hard to jump start even more projects to fix the damn roads with the right mix and material so they stay fixed. "
The Michigan Department of Transportation first unveiled a flex route in 2017 when the new lane opened on US-23 between Ann Arbor and Brighton.