FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – The Michigan Department of Transportation is preparing for a busy 2021 construction season after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her “Rebuilding Michigan” road funding program in January.
Engineers are already exploring new options for major highways and ways to reconfigure roads to save money in the long run.
I-69 is already slated for major work in 2021 from Fenton Road to Dort Highway in Flint, but MDOT engineers are looking at adding on to the project by reworking adjacent service drives. Eighth and Ninth streets, which run adjacent to the freeway, may shrink from three lanes to two.
“They’re one-way pairs on either side of I-69 and the three lanes can really handle a lot more than necessary that we see in traffic volumes,” said Trevor Blocker, an engineer at MDOT’s Davison Transportation Service Center.
He said the proposed road diet is the best way to construct the road and handle traffic volumes.
“I see this reduction in lanes on Eighth and Ninth streets really being a rebuilding, not just tearing it up and putting it back down,” Blocker said. “We really see this as an opportunity to rebuild it the way it should have been built in a way we can sustain it in future years.”
In the long run, the new configuration would save MDOT significant amounts in maintenance costs every year and save hundreds of thousands in future reconstruction costs.
“Just to do a resurfacing project on them, in that aspect that’s a few hundred thousand dollars just for that one lane that we wouldn’t have to redo later,” Blocker said.
MDOT hosted a virtual town hall meeting to lay out the plans and get input from motorists on Tuesday evening.
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