Michiganders ready for I-69 project to begin

MDOT is rebuilding I-69 in Eaton and Calhoun counties
Michiganders ready for I-69 project to begin
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 6:12 PM EST
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OLIVET, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Transportation didn’t waste any time this year starting major construction projects across Mid-Michigan.

Crews started work Monday on I-69 in Eaton County. Contractors placed orange barrels on the side of the southbound lanes between Ainger Road and I-94.

People in nearby Olivet were waiting for the concrete barriers to be placed for when the highway is down to one lane in each direction.

“Feeling a little nervous because a lot of trucks like to come through here,” said Bre Monaghan, The Willow Tree’s baker.

Monaghan remembered when I-69 was down to one lane north of Olivet’s two exits last year.

“We had a lot of people come in and say they’ve been stuck on the highway for times when they were late to work a couple of times so it was like ‘let’s find a different way to come around,’” said Monaghan

That way around was Main Street Olivet. Which brought more people to the small town.

“Actually we thought it was going to slow down quite a lot. We didn’t think we’d see as many people. We actually got to see a lot of new faces, it was really nice,” said Monaghan.

Now she’s bracing for another summer of road construction on I-69. Work is moving south, between Ainger Road in Eaton County and I-94 just north of Marshall.

“It also means we will hopefully get a lot more business like we did last time,” said Monaghan.

But not everyone is looking forward to having I-69 down to one lane for another summer.

Nicole Earley was stuck in traffic during last summer’s project. She’s surprised m-dot is already getting back to work.

“I’m not really sure it’s stopped that much. It seems we just finished the construction on 69 north to Lansing so I’m surprised they are starting already going in the south direction,” said Nicole Earley.

Monaghan offered advice to avoid the headaches and orange barrels on the highway.

“I stick with the back roads pretty much all the time. I’m not a big highway driver unless I absolutely have to,” said Monaghan.

The rebuilding project is going to take some time. MDOT is working in the northbound lanes this summer from I-94 to Ainger Road. Next year, they’ll work on the southbound lanes.

The I-69 project is part of the “Rebuilding Michigan” program. The state sold bonds in 2020 to rebuild the state’s busiest highways and bridges.

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