GRDadof3

Highway and Road Construction Updates

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East Beltline north is a mess now since they closed the WB I-96 ramp and the normal detour to Leonard is closed due to construction there. It was backed up yesterday all the way to Meijer Gardens with everyone trying to do the Michigan left at Eaglecrest Dr to turn right at Leonard

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12 hours ago, GRyan said:

It was backed up yesterday all the way to Meijer Gardens with everyone trying to do the Michigan left at Eaglecrest Dr to turn right at Leonard

It's been like this for far longer than the Leonard construction.

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On 9/19/2018 at 9:05 PM, tSlater said:

It's been like this for far longer than the Leonard construction.

The difference now though is there are way too many cars looking to FUML in the next turn-around to get back to Leonard that the left lane of traffic is actually stopped. It used to just slow down before. 

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44 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

The city's DDA is looking at converting Ionia and Ottawa from one-way street to two-way streets, voted to conduct engineering study. 

https://mibiz.com/item/26195-grand-rapids-to-explore-converting-downtown-one-way-streets-to-two-way-traffic

About time..

I kind of liked it for only having to pay attention to traffic from one direction walking around downtown, but it's otherwise just been an annoyance. Why were they made one-way in the first place?

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9 minutes ago, ZAP! said:

I kind of liked it for only having to pay attention to traffic from one direction walking around downtown, but it's otherwise just been an annoyance. Why were they made one-way in the first place?

When the highways were first built, the on ramps and off ramps were connected to streets and those streets were made one-way to get people in and out of downtown in a hurry.  Now that cities are trying to get people to stick around downtown, and slow traffic down for pedestrians, a lot of one-ways are being made into two-ways. I think Monroe Center should be kept one-way, but imagine if you were on Monroe Center and could turn right onto Ionia and park in the ramp? Or venture further down Ionia from there. Or go northbound on Ottawa from the arena area? 

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5 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

I think Monroe Center should be kept one-way, but imagine if you were on Monroe Center and could turn right onto Ionia and park in the ramp? Or venture further down Ionia from there. Or go northbound on Ottawa from the arena area? 

The possibilities are endless!

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Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I actually like one ways as a quick way to get in and out of downtown.  On the other hand I see people going the wrong way on the streets almost daily.  Wouldn't they have to reconfigure the I-196 ramps?  Pedestrian safety really starts with pedestrians being able to comprehend a crosswalk and crosswalk signal, they don't have the right of way if they dart out behind a truck in the middle of the street.

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23 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I actually like one ways as a quick way to get in and out of downtown.  On the other hand I see people going the wrong way on the streets almost daily.  Wouldn't they have to reconfigure the I-196 ramps?  Pedestrian safety really starts with pedestrians being able to comprehend a crosswalk and crosswalk signal, they don't have the right of way if they dart out behind a truck in the middle of the street.

No, they wouldn't have to reconfigure them. At the Ottawa off-ramp, the left lane or left two lanes would have to turn left onto Michigan (because they'd be facing oncoming traffic). Not a bid deal. The right lanes would have to either go straight down Ottawa or turn right onto Michigan like they do now.

Ionia might be trickier because it's a narrower street. Northbound would have its choice of turning either way on Michigan, or going straight to the on-ramps. Actually Ionia from Lyon up to Michigan could probably stay one way going North, it's pretty desolate no-man's land anyway. Leave it for now and take another look at it in 10 years. But imagine being on Lyon headed East, and being able to turn RIGHT onto Ionia, instead of having to go to Division to turn right? That would be nice. 

Fountain and Lyon being one-way streets always baffled me, especially in the heart of Heritage Hill. 

In other news, the I-196/96 junction is becoming a huge construction site. I'm trying to figure out what it all means right now (what's temporary and what's permanent).

As far as I can tell, the red line to the left near Maryland is going to be a temporary crossover to put all traffic in the Eastbound lanes, to make the Westbound bridge over Plymouth wider to accommodate the extra lane(s). The red line at the top is going to be the new southbound bridge approach that will take 96 traffic over the new sections to the Beltline exit. The red lines in the middle will be the new "express" traffic that is skipping the Beltline exit, headed Eastbound.

The black thing is a new crane to build the bridges, that showed up the other day. :)

My edumacated guess. 

 

196 fix.jpg

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Thanks for the document. I’ve been confused on what was going where. The 196 to east Beltline exit looks like it’s 2 miles long! :)

Joe

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1 hour ago, joeDowntown said:

Thanks for the document. I’ve been confused on what was going where. The 196 to east Beltline exit looks like it’s 2 miles long! :)

Joe

It's even more confusing to me because a lot of the work going on now doesn't match the picture of the final product. That's why I think some of it is temporary?

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The first contract is the new bridge over where you see the crane and all the temporary pavement needed for the contracts to follow. That way they can just move the traffic lanes around, no paving needed. I'm still looking for the phasing drawing I have someplace. I can get the answer to most any question since my daughter is doing a lot of the roadway design work.

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Phasing, as mention in August:

Quote

 

This fall, there will be shoulder closures and periodic single-lane for temporary widening and bridge construction, Richard said.

In the spring, there will be a single-lane on westbound I-196, from I-96 to Fuller Avenue, for about six months while westbound I-196 is being reconstructed. This will occur during the closure of the westbound I-196 bridge for widening.

https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2018/08/reconfiguring_i-96_i-196_at_ea.html

 

 

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11 hours ago, Lmichigan said:

Phasing, as mention in August:

 

Thanks, I was seeking a little more detail than a press release though. :) It looks like complete chaos right now. I think I have it figured out actually. 

12 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

The first contract is the new bridge over where you see the crane and all the temporary pavement needed for the contracts to follow. That way they can just move the traffic lanes around, no paving needed. I'm still looking for the phasing drawing I have someplace. I can get the answer to most any question since my daughter is doing a lot of the roadway design work.

I'm not looking forward to I-196 Westbound being trimmed down to one lane. I assume they'll sell/communicate I-96 North as an "alternate route" for a lot of the traffic, now that the work up near Comstock Park is done? 

One other thing they should do, if they're not already, is make the acceleration lane from the East Beltline to I-96 Eastbound loooonger.... That traffic has very little room to merge, and because they're coming off a tight loop, they always slow traffic way down.  All the highways around here seem like they were designed for a max 55mph speed limit. 

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I thought I-196 traffic was bad when they closed 96 this year.  1 lane WB seems multitudes worse.  It seems like this could close a lot of the downtown exits temporarily too.

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If they stay true to form, when they drop 196 to one lane they will also begin some kind of roadwork on 96, M6, Michigan St., Fulton, and Leonard just to be sure they fubar all westbound traffic.

... brought to you by the same brain trust that spent a lot of money creating the super fancy new diverging diamond at Cascade Road & 96 that actually fixed nothing.

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9 hours ago, wingbert said:

If they stay true to form, when they drop 196 to one lane they will also begin some kind of roadwork on 96, M6, Michigan St., Fulton, and Leonard just to be sure they fubar all westbound traffic.

... brought to you by the same brain trust that spent a lot of money creating the super fancy new diverging diamond at Cascade Road & 96 that actually fixed nothing.

It's great that we can all come together around a common cause: hating MDOT. :rofl:

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I can't find it on line but WB 196 is going to close at the river next summer to replace the deck of the bridge over the river. The project was delayed by relocating the mussels in the river and the I-96 project this summer.

As for the design issues, the freeways (except M-6) were built in the late 650's early 60's. Design standards were less, the speed limit 65 - 55 in town.  96 ended coming west at Whitneyville. The traffic count was 2500 a day, peak hour 250 cars about 4 every minute. Today the ADT is 51,000 / day, peak hour 5100, about 85 per minute.

As for all the construction, the lost decade had reduced gas tax funds for construction so we got used to fewer orange barrels. Now the funding has increased and that means more road work. The economy is cooking right alone and the workforce and traffic has increased accordingly.

As for the diverging diamond at Cascade. It was designed to take care of the problems on both ends of the interchange on Cascade. It was not a solution for the problems on I-96. If the west bounders would use all the acceleration lane to get up to 70-75 and then merge things would go much better. Nope , they get to the right lane and cut in, the right laners cut over into the left lanes and the stop and go begins. It does need a 3rd lane to M-21.

Edited by Raildude's dad
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12 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

As for the diverging diamond at Cascade. It was designed to take care of the problems on both ends of the interchange on Cascade. It was not a solution for the problems on I-96. If the west bounders would use all the acceleration lane to get up to 70-75 and then merge things would go much better. Nope , they get to the right lane and cut in, the right laners cut over into the left lanes and the stop and go begins. It does need a 3rd lane to M-21.

Could lane dividers be added to the acceleration lane to stop that behavior, and help with the back up?

tubemarker_app2_300x300.jpg

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12 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

 

As for the diverging diamond at Cascade. It was designed to take care of the problems on both ends of the interchange on Cascade. It was not a solution for the problems on I-96. If the west bounders would use all the acceleration lane to get up to 70-75 and then merge things would go much better. Nope , they get to the right lane and cut in, the right laners cut over into the left lanes and the stop and go begins. It does need a 3rd lane to M-21.

Exactly right, it does need to stay as 3 lanes. And then move the whole 3 lane over so that the Fulton Street onramp traffic can merge in. 

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25 minutes ago, Hoeks said:

Could lane dividers be added to the acceleration lane to stop that behavior, and help with the back up?

tubemarker_app2_300x300.jpg

I like this idea to stop the d*cks that cut over onto the highway the second the onramp is in the general vicinity of the highway, but it won't stop the cars that cut over into the left lane the second they merge onto the highway.

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15 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

As for the diverging diamond at Cascade. It was designed to take care of the problems on both ends of the interchange on Cascade. It was not a solution for the problems on I-96. If the west bounders would use all the acceleration lane to get up to 70-75 and then merge things would go much better. Nope , they get to the right lane and cut in, the right laners cut over into the left lanes and the stop and go begins. It does need a 3rd lane to M-21.

All true.  The problem is that the westbound on ramp still backs up and clogs the diverging diamond.  Also, locating 5 stoplights in the course of what, a quarter mile, was not the most intelligent of ideas.  Why didn’t East Paris get extended north before all that development was allowed to proceed?  Why was it deemed better to keep the light at Cascade West Parkway?  Why is the light at Kenmore on a timer and not a trigger?  It’s so frustrating to stop for a red light at Kenmore while you sit and wait for nobody - especially on a Sunday afternoon.  That area is such a mess and with continued addition of density in the Forest Hills area it is just going to get worse.  Horrific lack of foresight on display right there.

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