I-96 will open tomorrow (Monday, September 22), more than two weeks ahead of schedule.
The project even has its own website, www.96fix.com
The stretch was closed between Telegraph and Newburgh Roads in Livonia. The announcement was made today as Governor Rick Snyder and others gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and walk on the freeway. I-96 was closed in April to allow crews to reconstruct the 7-mile stretch. Crews rebuilt 56 miles of freeway, repaired 37 bridges, and reconstructed 26 ramps. The project area runs through Redford Township and Livonia.
So there you are, driving to and from work or school every day.
Chances are, there's probably a stretch of highway you drive that seems particularly soul-numbing and doesn't let you get any sense of place or community.
If you could design a highway, what would it look like? And could it improve, rather than just carve up your city?
That's the idea behind Highways for Habitats, a contest being run by the Michigan Municipal League's Let's Save Michigan Initiative.
Sarah Szurpicki is a project coordinator with the Let's Save Michigan Initiative, and she's been involved in many efforts to revitalize cities in the Great Lakes region. She joins us today to discuss the contest that would allow drivers to play transportation planner.
The outages have hit most major highways in and around the city, especially portions of I-94 and I-96.
In some cases, whole stretches of highway have repeatedly gone completely dark.
Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Rob Morosi said MDOT has removed some streetlights because they were old and unsound, and lost others to accidents.
But Morosi says the bigger issue is thieves who target transformer cabinets beside the highways, particularly for their copper wire--which can be sold for scrap.
“And we’re seeing an increase in copper theft in and around the metro Detroit area, and most of these lighting outages can be attributed to that theft,” Morosi said.
Morosi says MDOT is trying to fix the problems, but funding is tight and repairs are expensive.
“At this point in time, funding is an issue for this department,” Morosi said. “Infrastructure investment is obviously something we’re keeping a close eye on, and we’re hoping something can be done in Lansing.”
MDOT officials also hope proposed legislation to crack down on scrapyards will help out.
Morosi says it’s difficult to put a price tag on fixing the problem because “it’s such a moving target.”
Nearly all major freeways have been affected, and Morosi estimates as many as 20 percent of the freeway lights around Metro Detroit aren’t working for one reason or another.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today it will make available $473 million in road funds to states with pending transportation projects.
In a press release, U.S. Department of Transportation said the money comes from unspent earmarks from FY 2003-2006.
Effective today, state departments of transportation will have the ability to use their unspent earmarked highway funds, some of which are nearly 10 years old, on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, or port project.
The Detroit News reports Michigan has $15.8 million in 28 projects that hasn't been spent that the state can redirect.
"It will be up to Michigan how to decide to spend their money," LaHood said.
State departments of transportation will have the ability to use their unspent earmarked highway money, some of which is nearly 10 years old, on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail, or port project.
The Obama Administration wants the money spent soon. To use the funds, states must identify projects by October 1, and must obligate them by December 31, 2012.