Jump to content

GRDadof3

Highway and Road Construction Updates

Recommended Posts

15 minutes ago, Raildude's dad said:

Yes, the S-curve - mostly bridges and approaches - was removed and replaced. Opened to traffic in 2000- the year my daughter graduated from high school, that's how I remember :) .

Yeah the S-curve is 20 year old concrete, everything else is my dads age.  I am hoping at some point they upgrade from Ann to the S-Curve and from Wealthy to 28th.  It would be nice to see it looking new and fresh :D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


On 3/25/2019 at 7:08 PM, Raildude's dad said:

Longer than 25 years. Except for the patches 28th St to Ann St, that is the original concrete pavement, 60 year old concrete - good stuff.  If MDOT had kept up with joint maintenance, the patches would be smaller and fewer.  If they would micro grind the surface, it would ride smooth as glass.

Whatever they did with the concrete back then, they need to start doing more of that.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

Yes, the S-curve - mostly bridges and approaches - was removed and replaced. Opened to traffic in 2000- the year my daughter graduated from high school, that's how I remember :) .

That's crazy, that was the year my oldest daughter was born at Butterworth Hospital, January 2000. We also talk about how the S-curve was closed the year she was born. 

12 hours ago, tSlater said:

Whatever they did with the concrete back then, they need to start doing more of that.

No haven't you heard? MDOT needs to do more more more with less less less. Forget about doing things that will last for 50 years. Look at the M-6 work as a prime example: brilliant value engineering. 

This closure is a pretty big deal and starts Monday, and it seems like they're just now getting the word out to the public. I was just talking to people yesterday at an event who had no idea this was happening (they had no idea the Westbound highway is basically completely closing for 5 months). 

https://fox17online.com/2019/03/25/closure-of-westbound-i-196-and-downtown-gr-ramp-closures-begin-april-1/?fbclid=IwAR1jOs1ajIHMqX0-MtC7geWvimbGUGVa4mwyqXuyxVxTu2apY5GnfsuEs94

The detour to go up I-96 toward Plainfield Avenue and get on 131 to go South is going to be backed up for miles, I predict. 41,000 extra cars a day going through a cloverleaf exit to get on 131 Southbound will be a major pinch point. Plan ahead! 

I may take the detour route today and time it, and then double that number! :) 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, tSlater said:

Whatever they did with the concrete back then, they need to start doing more of that.

No joke. I was driving on the Ohio Turnpike this week. The cement was not new, but the surface was in great shape. It was a pleasant driving experience - minus the police hiding behind the divider wall every 10 miles. I know we have bad winters that don't mix well with roads, but so do a lot of states in the Midwest. You get what you pay for and Michigan roads are a perfect example of the negative side of that rule.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

That's crazy, that was the year my oldest daughter was born at Butterworth Hospital, January 2000. We also talk about how the S-curve was closed the year she was born. 

No haven't you heard? MDOT needs to do more more more with less less less. Forget about doing things that will last for 50 years. Look at the M-6 work as a prime example: brilliant value engineering. 

This closure is a pretty big deal and starts Monday, and it seems like they're just now getting the word out to the public. I was just talking to people yesterday at an event who had no idea this was happening (they had no idea the Westbound highway is basically completely closing for 5 months). 

https://fox17online.com/2019/03/25/closure-of-westbound-i-196-and-downtown-gr-ramp-closures-begin-april-1/?fbclid=IwAR1jOs1ajIHMqX0-MtC7geWvimbGUGVa4mwyqXuyxVxTu2apY5GnfsuEs94

The detour to go up I-96 toward Plainfield Avenue and get on 131 to go South is going to be backed up for miles, I predict. 41,000 extra cars a day going through a cloverleaf exit to get on 131 Southbound will be a major pinch point. 

 

Really?  I can see it being a huge headache, but it seems like MDOT has been talking about this for over a year now.  If people don't know it's been coming they must be ignoring the giant construction site they've been driving past on I-96 since September.  Downtown is a much bigger population and jobs center now than it was, but do you really think this will be more of a disruption than the total closure of 131 20 years ago?  I think the first 2 weeks will be chaotic as always and then for the most part people will figure it out.  It will be delayed but not the end of the world. 

I can tell you Spectrum's been creating awareness for a couple months now for the downtown campus.   The suburbanites who commute in from their ivory towers have been going through various stages of outrage and grief over parking for a while(to some of them having to take the 19 bus with the "commoners" is abominable.)  Their concern about this construction feels almost apocalyptic.   It seems that it's going to disproportionately affect people E/SE of the city more than anyone else, so I think they're being a bit histrionic.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, MJLO said:

Really?  I can see it being a huge headache, but it seems like MDOT has been talking about this for over a year now.  If people don't know it's been coming they must be ignoring the giant construction site they've been driving past on I-96 since September.  Downtown is a much bigger population and jobs center now than it was 20 years ago but do you really think this will be more of a disruption than the total closure of 131 20 years ago?  I think the first 2 weeks will be chaotic as always and then for the most part people will figure it out.  It will be delayed but not the end of the world. 

I can tell you Spectrum's been creating awareness for a couple months now for the downtown campus.   The suburbanites who commute in from their ivory towers have been going through various stages of outrage and grief over parking for a while(to some of them having to take the 19 bus with the "commoners" is abominable.  Their concern about this construction feels almost apocalyptic.   It seems that it's going to disproportionately affect people E/SE of the city more than anyone else, so I think they're being a bit histrionic.  

It's been talked about and there are signs on the highway that have been warning people (but I think they've only been up for a couple of weeks).  I don't think they've done a good job of communicating that you won't be able to go cross-town anymore for 5 months. Or that to get downtown there's only going to be 1 lane the whole way when there's really a need for 3 lanes now at rush hours. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who live in the Forest Hills/Cascade area who had no idea. I've been posting it on my FB page for months and people had no idea. I guess it depends on where you get your local news.

The s-curve closure, if you remember, was a highly choreographed campaign. And back then it was about 50,000 cars a day in each direction on the s-curve. This is 41,000 in each direction, so getting close to the 1999 s-curve volumes with the growth going on. They even ran shuttle buses from South of downtown during the s-curve shutdown (not sure why they discontinued those). 

A lot of people plan their commutes around daycare, school dropoffs and pickups, and a host of other things that single urbanites have no concept of.  Sometimes we have to step outside of our bubbles and think about how things affect other people. :)  #weareallinthistogether

I think also that their traffic counts are off. It's closer to 90,000 cars a day now on I-196 east of downtown, 44,000 in each direction. 

460120747_trafficcounts.thumb.JPG.509bada409fd56cddaa8abd5312eb3d1.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bridge closure will easily double WB 96 traffic at a minimum.  And it will spill highway traffic downtown.    Traffic downtown near Michigan/Bridge/Leonard )will come to a halt through rush hour (if you thought it was slow already).   Who knows what this will do to 131 traffic... 131 has limited space for more traffic as is.

Also more traffic will spill downtown at other spots because NB131 to WB196 and SB131 to EB196 will be closed.

The thing with closing a bridge is that there are limited options for detours.   There are only 8 local bridges to cross the Grand River from Wealthy to N Park.  If you are not taking 96 over the river, you are going to take one of these.   This isn't just about suburbanites.    But anybody who needs to get from the east side of Grand Rapids to the west side of Grand Rapids.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be a major inconvenience for people for quite some time.  I feel sorry for anyone that will be taking 131 down into the city each day. It will be a mess between 96 and 196 everyday. Unfortunately, these are inconveniences we need in order to bring our infrastructure up to the needs of a metro area that has increased in size at a rate of approximately 10,000 per year. We can only hope that we don't have another labor dispute that doubles the time needed to complete the project.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, GRLaker said:

 We can only hope that we don't have another labor dispute that doubles the time needed to complete the project.  

Oh man, better knock on wood.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, JoeSchmo said:

The bridge closure will easily double WB 96 traffic at a minimum.  And it will spill highway traffic downtown.    Traffic downtown near Michigan/Bridge/Leonard )will come to a halt through rush hour (if you thought it was slow already).   Who knows what this will do to 131 traffic... 131 has limited space for more traffic as is.

Also more traffic will spill downtown at other spots because NB131 to WB196 and SB131 to EB196 will be closed.

The thing with closing a bridge is that there are limited options for detours.   There are only 8 local bridges to cross the Grand River from Wealthy to N Park.  If you are not taking 96 over the river, you are going to take one of these.   This isn't just about suburbanites.    But anybody who needs to get from the east side of Grand Rapids to the west side of Grand Rapids.

I agree it's going to surge to some grid lock on surface streets.    Keep in mind due to the closure there will be no traffic merging onto North or southbound 131 from the WB Ford Freeway. That's tens of thousands of daily vehicles diverted.  It's hard to say how exactly 131 will be impacted.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

They even ran shuttle buses from South of downtown during the s-curve shutdown (not sure why they discontinued those).
 

 

Those shuttles were funded by MDOT as part of the S-curve construction budget, so once the project was completed the shuttles were discontinued due to lack of funding. Early on for this project, The Rapid reached out to MDOT about doing that again for the bridge closure, but it wasn't included in the project's budget.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, wingbert said:

Unfortunately, they should be bringing the infrastructure up to the needs of the metro area of the future.  Reminds me of an old hockey maxim, move to where the puck is going to be, not where it is now.

Quite right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what they're widening to.  The concrete columns were put up or extended last year, now it's simply add steel frame and fill with concrete.

20190327_123335.thumb.jpg.1d8220bf7598bd1ae30ea737adbd84a6.jpg20190327_123305.thumb.jpg.29e6fda586f921573ce7dfab91681b1d.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, wingbert said:

Unfortunately, they should be bringing the infrastructure up to the needs of the metro area of the future.  Reminds me of an old hockey maxim, move to where the puck is going to be, not where it is now.

I gave you a Stanley Cup for that one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, VectorPrime said:

Those shuttles were funded by MDOT as part of the S-curve construction budget, so once the project was completed the shuttles were discontinued due to lack of funding. Early on for this project, The Rapid reached out to MDOT about doing that again for the bridge closure, but it wasn't included in the project's budget.

 

The shuttles suffered from low ridership. Traffic wasn't the gridlock that was feared just like it won't be now. Traffic disperses pretty good.  Heaven forbid, folks might have to leave earlier and take longer to get home.  It will be a little taste of what conjestion and rush hour traffic is about. We have it pretty good here.

Like I said, get used to it. More road money means more raid work to address some of the traffic issues you'al complain about. Nice thing is I can retire although my commute is 2.3 miles one way.  1 right turn, a left and right at a signal and a left at an all way stop :thumbsup:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of this mess and they're not even adding any usable lanes on the bridge?  lol....

I guess it's not all MDOT's fault when they are working with peanuts.  Just pass the damn gas tax already.  I don't understand people crying foul at a flat gas tax increase going entirely to roads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Floyd_Z said:

All of this mess and they're not even adding any usable lanes on the bridge?  lol....

I guess it's not all MDOT's fault when they are working with peanuts.  Just pass the damn gas tax already.  I don't understand people crying foul at a flat gas tax increase going entirely to roads.

I think part of that is a misnomer. Even though the bridge widening doesn't add any through lanes, I think it makes the Ottawa onramp traffic and 131 northbound exit traffic flow smoother. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Even though the bridge widening doesn't add any through lanes

I was always under the impression that they were going to continue the 3rd lane so it doesn't cause the bottleneck after the Ottawa exit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, jonrapley said:

I was always under the impression that they were going to continue the 3rd lane so it doesn't cause the bottleneck after the Ottawa exit.

Right but it's not considered a "through lane." Even MDOT's site says: "MDOT is investing approximately $61 million to widen and reconstruct the westbound I-196 bridge over the Grand River at the US-131 interchange. The wider bridge will accommodate wider shoulders and additional lanes to better connect westbound I-196 to the US-131 interchange."

and 

The final configuration will be:

Left lane exit to southbound U.S. 131

Two through traffic lanes

Right lane extension of the exit lane to northbound U.S. 131 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, MJLO said:

I can tell you Spectrum's been creating awareness for a couple months now for the downtown campus.   The suburbanites who commute in from their ivory towers have been going through various stages of outrage and grief over parking for a while(to some of them having to take the 19 bus with the "commoners" is abominable.)  Their concern about this construction feels almost apocalyptic.   It seems that it's going to disproportionately affect people E/SE of the city more than anyone else, so I think they're being a bit histrionic.  

Northeast as well, since they're going to be the ones fighting most of the detour traffic.

One thing I haven't seen anyone mention and may be more of a surprise to people is that many of the EBL ramps to and from 96/196 will be closed during this also. This means pretty much all traffic coming from the Northeast side (including Rockford) that doesn't follow EBL south of the highway is going to be funneled onto 131 which will be gridlocked from the detour and Plainfield.

I think to get a good idea of how this will play out, we can look at what happened with the 96 bridge closure last summer. That diverted 56k vehicles according to the map above onto 196, causing backups on NB 131 at evening rushour all the way to the S-curve, and EB 196 backups from Beltline to Downtown on morning rush hour. (Although the highway essentially reducing to one lane likely contributed greatly to that.) Also during this time, EBL traffic greatly increased as well, with NB backups at evening from the river all the way to 5-mile. This was mostly people who would take 96 to 131 and go north, just getting off at EBL instead to go north. Even Coit and Dean Lake were seeing heavy traffic and backups, and those are pretty out-of-the-way to get to as detours. So now imagine taking a lot of the EBL-to-96 traffic and sticking it on Plainfield or Cascade exits instead, and all that traffic on 196 on 131 instead.

When the S-Curve closed, people had the option of a lot of arterials: Division, Clyde Park, Eastern, Kalamazoo. On the North side you have much less options: 131, Beltline, Plainfield(->optionally to Fuller after the highway) to Downtown, and one of those is really limited with exit closures. (West into Downtown has more options like S-curve did.) I'm expecting nothing less than a complete mess, but then I am biased since I live near the junction of Plainfield and EBL and commute downtown, meaning pretty much one of my only two options is closed and the other will be gridlocked.)

Edited by tSlater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

The final configuration will be:

Left lane exit to southbound U.S. 131

Two through traffic lanes

Right lane extension of the exit lane to northbound U.S. 131 

I'm a little confused about the right lane.  The right lane currently connects to the Ottawa on-ramp.   

It seems like there are some space constraints.  If this lane is extended past the Ottawa on-ramp, then it doesn't seem like there will be merging room for Ottawa?    Will this become a pedal to the metal on ramp like Lane WB? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, JoeSchmo said:

I'm a little confused about the right lane.  The right lane currently connects to the Ottawa on-ramp.   

It seems like there are some space constraints.  If this lane is extended past the Ottawa on-ramp, then it doesn't seem like there will be merging room for Ottawa?    Will this become a pedal to the metal on ramp like Lane WB? 

There was an engineering drawing of the new bridge and I can't seem to find it. It was from a few years ago I believe. I assume it's in this thread somewhere. 

Update: all the links to the project are broken now. There was one that the city engineering department was reviewing that I remember the most. Should have taken some screen grabs. :)

This is what I believe is happening though: right now the Westbound side of the highway goes from 3 lanes down to 2 just after the Ottawa exit. Then the Ottawa onramp comes in and goes all the way and becomes the 131 exit. That will no longer be the case, westbound traffic will extend onto the bridge and merge with Ottawa onramp traffic (?). That part confuses me and not sure how that will make it any less "butt clenching." 

On the other side, the southbound exit to 131 will carry the entire length of the bridge, instead of being a short lane that everyone slows down to 45 to get into.

That's going completely from memory though. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other note: when they had the I-96 bridge closed last year and re-routed all traffic onto I-196, it was pretty log-jammed. Especially in the summer on Fridays and Sundays, with people heading to the "lake" and heading back home. I think this will be worse because it's taking the busier artery and putting it on the lower capacity highway. Basically taking I-96 that handles about 27,000 cars a day going Westbound, and bumping it up to at least 50,000 maybe 60,000 cars a day going Westbound. ie, about the same volume of traffic on the s-curve every day put onto a two lane highway. 

Not trying to be apocalyptic but I foresee traffic being backed up almost to Lowell on Fridays starting Memorial Day Weekend. Vacation travelers would be better off taking M-6 to 131 and then up to I-96. 

Gotta go through the pain though. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe my numbers are incorrect, but I guess what I'm saying is... They're spending $61 million to add shoulders.  How much of that was spent on damming the river, prep work, etc VS actual construction?   Say in 10 years (if we're lucky) they come back and decide to add an actual lane in each direction.  That would cost let's say $100 Million and then they would have to do all of that same prep work all over again.  Why not add a lane while they have the opportunity?  Or am I just being too logical?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.