(FOX 2) - Orange barrels are returning to I-696 in Macomb County as the Michigan Department of Transportation gets back to work.
"We always knew that there would be some work that would have to be pushed to the spring, because it was such a very large project to work on, all of east and westbound 696 in Macomb County," said Diane Cross, MDOT spokesperson. "But because of the lockout that we had in the fall, and that we worked into winter, we knew we were just going to have to move more of the wrapping up work into the spring."
The situation forced MDOT to prioritize, she said.
"We got later in the year and because of the lockout, we knew we were delayed, and our goal was we just had to get the freeway open," Cross said. "We knew our goal was to get it open, and we'd come back in the Spring and finish the rest of it."
So, what work still needs to be done?
"Eastbound, we're still doing what's called diamond grinding, where each lane has to be kind of ground down a little bit, like sandpaper, so you have a smoother ride," Cross said. " We still have some shoulder work to do, some joint work to do, tiny bit of sewer work to do on that eastbound side. But then, we're also working on the service drives.
"Westbound 696, we still have that left lane blocked. We're working on that concrete barrier wall. We have to do a lot of repairs and then also the crossovers, where we had let traffic shift over and use some of the exit ramps. We have to put permanent barrier wall in there, as well."
Because lane and ramp closings will be constantly changing, it's going to be tough to stay up to speed on the project.
"Drivers are going to really have to pay attention every day to what's going on to know if they're going to be affected," Cross said. "Michigan.gov/drive or Twitter @MDOT_metrodet to find out where we're working now."
All the aspects of this project should be wrapped up by late summer.