By Shane Madden
The downtown commute just got a little less hectic.
Traffic resumed on the U.S. 131 and I-196 interchange Sept. 23. This includes east and westbound lanes on I-196, as well as on and off ramps from I-196 to U.S. 131, and vice versa.
The project was originally slated to replace the bridge deck on eastbound I-196, which was built in the 1960’s, and reopen in mid-July, but turned a setback into an opportunity.
“…Once crews ripped off the old deck, it exposed a steel beam that needed to be replaced” said John Richard, Communications Representative with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). We took advantage of the full closure and made improvements to the surrounding ramps and bridges.”
Construction and lane closures are set to continue on the U.S. 131 S-curve, as Kent County crews work to change signage and pour new concrete foundations in the narrow median, riddled with buried utility lines. Originally this project was to be completed by Oct. 17.
“Unfortunately, crews damaged a storm sewer pipe, so this changed the plans,” Richard said. “Instead of drilled shaft foundations, we’ve had to change some of them to spread footing foundations. This added time, materials, and cost. It’s been Murphy’s Law this year.”
That, it has.