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I-94 expansion, Portage Road interchange reopens today

Fast facts:

  • MDOT's I-94 widening project between Lovers Lane and Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo is expected to reach substantial completion today.
  • The rebuilt I-94/Portage Road interchange is expected to be substantially complete as well.
  • Completion has been delayed by a year due to the pandemic and associated challenges.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. ­-      The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) project to widen I-94 to six lanes from Lovers Lane to Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo County, as well as to rebuild the Portage Road interchange, is expected to reach substantial completion today, clearing the way to reopen all three eastbound and westbound I-94 lanes, as well as the lanes and ramps at the Portage Road interchange.

Work will continue on Portage Road, with lane closures through mid-November as crews complete the median curb islands.

Completion of the three-year, $87 million project has been delayed by almost a year as MDOT and contractors Toebe Construction and M & M Excavating overcame several challenges. The project included widening 2.7 miles of I-94 between Lovers Lane and Sprinkle Road and rebuilding the Portage Road interchange with a new alignment as a single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Work also included building a new Kilgore Road alignment at Portage Road, rebuilding four bridges and one culvert, traffic signal upgrades, new signs, freeway lighting, and noise barrier installation.

"We can't say enough to thank motorists, commuters, and neighbors for their patience and understanding, as well as the dedication of our contractors and consultants as we worked through an unprecedented pandemic and the complications it caused not just for this project, but around the world," said MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich.

With this expansion project done, MDOT has completed a series of projects over the past 15 years to expand I-94 from four to six lanes from US-131 to Sprinkle Road. New I-94 interchanges have been built at US-131, Westnedge Avenue, Portage Road, and Sprinkle Road, in addition to new bridges at Oakland Drive, Lovers Lane, railroads, pedestrian paths, rivers, and streams.

When the US-131 portion of the project started in 2006, the average daily traffic volume on I-94 was 79,600. In 2022, even during construction, there were almost 94,600 vehicles each day on the I-94 corridor between US-131 and Sprinkle Road.

Originally planned for completion in November 2022, the project faced significant schedule setbacks caused largely by a global pandemic in 2020, leading to lost work hours due to illness, materials shortages and delays, and supply chain complications that have plagued the project to its final hours.

Project contractors Toebe Construction and M&M Excavating issued a joint statement: "An extraordinary collective effort was required to bring this project to substantial completion. Along with the Kalamazoo community, we are grateful to have reached this milestone, an accomplishment that would not have been possible without the dedication of our project team and crews who have worked tirelessly over the past three years in the face of unprecedented challenges."

Based on economic modeling, this investment is expected to directly and indirectly support 1,052 jobs.

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