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GRDadof3

Highway and Road Construction Updates

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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:

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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 

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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

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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? 

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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. 

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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. 

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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?

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The planning for this project started 10+ years ago. MDOT has had funding issues all thru this time.  MDOT has mislead folks by talking about adding lanes and widening when all the work stops where the ramps go left and right.  Yes, they are adding length to the WB to NB lane and adding breakdown lanes.  To add a third thru lane over the 131 lanes would  make the project at least a couple 100 million.

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14 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

The planning for this project started 10+ years ago. MDOT has had funding issues all thru this time.  MDOT has mislead folks by talking about adding lanes and widening when all the work stops where the ramps go left and right.  Yes, they are adding length to the WB to NB lane and adding breakdown lanes.  To add a third thru lane over the 131 lanes would  make the project at least a couple 100 million.

Do they really need a 3rd through lane on the Ford Freeway over 131 anyway?   From everything I can tell most of a good chunk of the volume exits to NB/SB131 and then gets replenished on the otherside by the feeder ramps from 131.  The actual amount of traffic going over the 131 should be fine if there is an additional weave/merge before and after.  I know they built in a lane they aren't using a while back giong EB,  I can't remember if they have the same ghost lane waiting on the WB side.  At some point they are going to have to address the width of the freeway heading up the hill through Polish Hollywood and into LMD.

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

Do they really need a 3rd through lane on the Ford Freeway over 131 anyway?   From everything I can tell most of a good chunk of the volume exits to NB/SB131 and then gets replenished on the otherside by the feeder ramps from 131.  The actual amount of traffic going over the 131 should be fine if there is an additional weave/merge before and after.  I know they built in a lane they aren't using a while back giong EB,  I can't remember if they have the same ghost lane waiting on the WB side.  At some point they are going to have to address the width of the freeway heading up the hill through Polish Hollywood and into LMD.

You might be right, from the map I posted 196 goes from a peak of 88,000 around Fuller, and then drops to 75,000 just after 131. So it loses a net 13,000 cars somewhere (or 6500 if you divide in half). It picks up a lot of people West of the bridge coming in from 131 on both sides. From anecdotal experience driving that stretch almost every day, A LOT of cars are in the left lane going onto that bridge and then exit Southbound 131. So much so that it slows traffic down to 45 or 50 in the left lane which is beyond aggravating. A lot of people exit North as well. I sometimes feel like I'm the only one going straight through.  

Plus you have those brainiacs who think they can get on 196 from Ottawa and skip all the way across to go South on 131, but that's a discussion for another time.

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I didnt realize in June, EB 96 (between Leonard and the Beltline) is closing all summer as well. 

So come June (through August), both EB 96 and WB 196 official detour is through SB 131. 

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5 hours ago, JoeSchmo said:

I didnt realize in June, EB 96 (between Leonard and the Beltline) is closing all summer as well. 

So come June (through August), both EB 96 and WB 196 official detour is through SB 131. 

Yep, and don't forget that the East Beltline ramps to I-96 will also be apparently closed. Which ramps I'm not sure as there are two of them. I assume the Westbound ones will be closed first, then Eastbound next year?

https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,4616,7-151-9621_11008-480166--,00.html?fbclid=IwAR2SLRPxxDgAZwN_H62RiE6PYs10IHoZrZ7s8UxVqd30qMemypSUYPVPqAU

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On 3/29/2019 at 1:27 PM, JoeSchmo said:

I didnt realize in June, EB 96 (between Leonard and the Beltline) is closing all summer as well. 

So come June (through August), both EB 96 and WB 196 official detour is through SB 131. 

EB wasn't supposed to be closed. The remaining work was bid earlier. Estimated at $30M, came in at $50M. So the engineers (my daughter is one of them) were told to break it in 2. They can't just rebid it (all the contractors prices are public at tat point) so they have to make changes. One of the changes was closing the I96. Not sure I agree with that running it thru the work zone of the 196 project (SB 131 to EB 196 is currently closed with a flip at Lane ave :(:(:  ).

Part 1 was bid yesterday. Estimate at 40M, came in a little under.

A segway back to my daughter - she texted me last night,  that how exciting it is to cruise thru WB on the way home and see all her drawings being turned into real infrastructure.  Most of her projects are not local.

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5 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Anything new in this?

https://www.grandrapidsmi.gov/Our-City/News-Media/New-westbound-I-196-on-ramp-to-be-added-downtown

It does show a bit more of what's going to happen to Ottawa Ave North of the interchange. 

I don't recall Ionia being permanently closed north of the new ramp in earlier press releases.  Currently, people who park on Ionia or those lots and walk to the hospital are in a dangerous spot. They literally walk down Ionia then jump the concrete barrier to cross Division. This will help them for sure.

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Well the hits keep comin:

https://trib.al/AXiyH7D

Sign InSearch

GRAND RAPIDS

Detour, traffic shift coming as I-196 reconstructed near Hudsonville

Today 8:00 AM

MDOT will reconstruct approximately five miles of westbound I-196 from Kenowa Avenue to 32nd Avenue in Hudsonville. Courtesy MDOT.

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By Sheila McGrath | [email protected]

HUDSONVILLE, MI -- Beginning Saturday, April 13, West Michigan drivers will have a new roadwork project on I-196 to factor into their commutes.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will begin a project to reconstruct approximately five miles of westbound I-196 from Kenowa Avenue to 32nd Avenue in Hudsonville, according to a news release. The work is expected to continue through Aug. 20.

Weather permitting, lane closures for construction staging will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday, according to John Richard, MDOT’s communications representative for the Grand Region.

Once the project is underway, westbound I-196 traffic will be shifted to the eastbound side of the roadway at Kenowa Avenue, Richard said.

All eastbound I-196 traffic will have to exit to eastbound M-6. The detour for drivers heading to the Grand Rapids area will be M-6 to northbound U.S. 131, Richard said, or drivers may choose to take local roads. There are exits from M-6 at 8th Avenue, Wilson Avenue and Byron Center Avenue.

“The main detour is to send folks up 131,” he said.

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