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Gov. Whitmer Announces I-96 Flex Route Project to Begin March 21 to Reduce Commute Times in Oakland County


March 14, 2022



Gov. Whitmer Announces I-96 Flex Route Project to Begin March 21 to Reduce Commute Times in Oakland County


LANSING, Mich. -- Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced that starting on Monday, March 21, work will begin to rebuild eastbound and westbound I-96 between Kent Lake Road and the I-275/M-5/I-696 interchange in Oakland County, as part of her Rebuilding Michigan program. When completed, this portion of I-96 will become the latest flex route in the state, letting drivers know when an additional lane is available during peak travel times.


"It is pretty simple: no one likes sitting in traffic. It takes away from valuable time at home, with friends, or at work. That is why we are excited to announce the beginning of this project in Oakland County to safely and efficiently alleviate road congestion. Orange cones and barrels are hitting the road as work begins on our Flex Route where the freeway shoulder can be used by motorists during peak travel times, to save drivers time on their commutes. ," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "Since taking office, Michigan has rebuilt, replaced, or repaired over 13,000 lane miles of road and over 900 bridges while supporting 82,000 jobs. But that progress does not mean our work is over, and I will keep working hard to jump start even more projects to fix the damn roads with the right mix and material so they stay fixed. " 


Funding for this project is made possible by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Rebuilding Michigan program to rebuild the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state's economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state's infrastructure.


The I-96 Flex Route project includes rebuilding the freeway, rebuilding the median shoulders for use during peak periods, sign upgrades, and active traffic management installation, including intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment, overhead gantry installation and ramp signals for metering traffic onto the freeway. Electronic message boards will alert drivers with speed advisories and travel information. The first flex route was installed on US-23 north of Ann Arbor, in Washtenaw and Livingston counties.


This three-year project will be done in stages. The first stage will begin on March 21 with improvements made to the eastbound and westbound median and outside shoulders, as well as temporary crossovers installed to shift traffic during the project. 


Starting in late May through late fall 2022, eastbound and westbound I-96 traffic will be shifted onto the westbound lanes between Kent Lake Road and Wixom Road, with two lanes open in each direction to accommodate the rebuilding of the eastbound lanes. 


During median drainage work, I-96 traffic will have three eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes between Wixom Road and the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange. The following ramps will be closed during this stage: the northbound and southbound Kent Lake Road ramps to eastbound I-96,the northbound and southbound Milford Road ramps to eastbound I-96, the eastbound I-96 exit ramps to Milford and Wixom roads, and the Milford and Wixom road ramps to westbound I-96.This first stage will be finished and ramps reopened by late fall 2022.


"This is the kind of transportation infrastructure work I love most. It's using what we have in a smarter way to accommodate our current and future needs, said state Rep. Samantha Steckloff. "Historically, this kind of capacity addition would be wildly expensive due to everything from purchasing right-of-ways to physical road expansion. As the ranking member of the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, my biggest priority is finding efficient transportation capacity growth opportunities, just like this. I have been a frequent user of the US-23 FlexRoute system into Ann Arbor, and I've seen what it's been able to achieve. I can't wait to see the state's next installation of this technology right here in Oakland County and to use it on my drives to and from Lansing."


In 2023, rebuilding will continue on eastbound I-96 from Wixom Road to the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange. I-96 traffic will have two eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes shifted onto the westbound side of the freeway through these limits.


In 2024, westbound I-96 will be rebuilt from the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange to Kent Lake Road. I-96 traffic will be shifted to the eastbound side of the freeway, with two lanes open in each direction. 


Project details, including videos on driving a flex route, will be available at The website is expected to be launched by mid-March. 


I-96 Oakland County profile


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