GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The second year of the interchange project at I-96 and Cascade Road in Grand Rapids begins Friday night with 15-minute closures of the freeway. The closures are necessitated by placement of bridge beams over the highway.
The closures on I-96 are scheduled on the eastbound side at times between 11:30 p.m.and 3:30 a.m. and on the westbound side at times between 3:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The Michigan Department of Transportation has not offered official detour routes to avoid the closures, but using East Beltline and 28th Street would be an option, albeit a long one.
Usually, freeway closures of this kind involve directing through traffic on the ramps in the interchange, but that won't happen this time. MDOT's John Richards told FOX 17 Traffic that the closures will be complete with no detours, but they will only last 15 minutes at a time.
The I-96/Cascade Road interchange has been under construction since the beginning of the 2015 construction season, when bridge supports were constructed for a new bridge over I-96 and the exit ramp from eastbound I-96 to Cascade Road was extended to reduce backups at peak periods.
This year, the new bridge will be completed, the old bridge will be demolished and replaced, and by November a new configuration, called a diverging diamond interchange, will be in place.
For drivers, it will be a radically new way of getting through an interchange: Traffic will no longer back up waiting to make a left turn onto the freeway.
Lane closures can be expected occasionally on the expressway and regularly on Cascade Road.