I-496 to reopen following nearly half-year closure

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:19 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 12:16 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Holiday travelers have something to be thankful for ahead of Thanksgiving - a two-mile stretch of I-496 reopens Tuesday after being closed for five months.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will be opening both eastbound and westbound lanes at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Since June, drivers taking the freeway had to exit to Malcolm X Street or to St. Joseph Street, but now drivers will have a straight shot.

The construction was part of an $80 million state infrastructure project that was supposed to be finished in October. It repaired multiple structures - including sewage drains and lighting.

“It’s just one of those projects where you get into it and don’t always have a complete picture of what you’re getting into,” said Trevor Block, an MDOT engineer.

MDOT ran into some surprises along the way - like a storm sewer 25 feet underneath the ground.

“A 6-foot diameter storm sewer,” Block recalled. “We had to go down and dig that up and put in a new one.”

The freeway will be open, but if you’re looking to use any of the exits - like Walnut and Pine Streets, MLK Boulevard or Washington Avenue - will have to wait until mid-December.

More: WILX News 10 Live Traffic Map

“We’re just working on getting the light poles up on those,” Block said. “So as soon as we get the light poles up on each of those we’ll get them open.”

Morning commuters should still avoid the area as the freeway isn’t expected to be open until about 5 p.m. It is expected to be ready for the evening commute.

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