Lansing families concerned I-496 closure could lead to rise in speeding on residential streets

‘It’s a long stretch. There’s really no stop signs through here or traffic lights, but it is a neighborhood.’
Getting around the I-496 closure
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 8:29 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - If you’re not a fan of traffic, you might want to avoid driving near I-496 for the next few months.

A two-mile stretch from Lansing Road to the Grand River will be closed for construction for the next five months.

Read: I-496 in Lansing to close through October for rebuilding project

Eastbound traffic is detoured onto Malcolm X Street and westbound traffic will be detoured onto St. Joseph Street, but there are other ways to avoid the mess.

Traffic in surrounding neighborhoods began to pick up at about 3 p.m. Thursday and remained steady into the evening. If you’re taking the detours, you’re going to want to give yourself some extra time.

“Options for drivers in the area with the two service drives being Malcom X and Saint Joe,” said Chris Gembel, with the Michigan Department of Transportation. “And then looking into it further, there’s a lot of good spots for drivers to divert through the area.”

One of those routes is Michigan Avenue off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but if you take that route, you’ll need to pay attention.

“It’s a long stretch. There’s really no stop signs through here or traffic lights,” said Lansing resident Chris Murphy. “But it is a neighborhood and there are a lot of children.”

More: WILX News 10 Live Traffic Map

Murphy lives in the area with seven children and two dogs. He said the family has had problems with people driving too fast before the construction and now that the freeway is closed, he hopes it doesn’t get worse.

“It’s always concerning. We only get a break at night when traffic dies down,” Murphy said. “But throughout the day, I’m usually out here with my kids watching cars fly by.”

He has a fenced-in yard, but he’s concerned about those who do not.

“For other families that have children that don’t have a fenced-in yard or their parents aren’t outside watching them, I’m always just kind of terrified,” Murphy said.

Murphy is urging those driving through neighborhoods to slow down and pay close attention to the children and pets in the area. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

“Do the speed limit,” Murphy said. “Consider other people and the safety of my son and children at least.”

The project is expected to last through October. More information can be found on the official I-495 Rebuilding Project webpage here.


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