BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek bridge over I-94 that has been closed for construction since July will be reopened this weekend.
On Saturday, the Capital Avenue bridge over I-94 as well as the westbound ramps will be opened for traffic. Traffic signal work and the installation of decorative fencing will continue on Capital Avenue but should not impact traffic, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.
The project, which shut down Capital Avenue on July 7, was extended by a week to include rebuilding the ramps, which MDOT says saved traffic from being impacted for another six to eight weeks.
During the closure, area businesses like a taco restaurant and natural foods store reported seeing a 30% drop in customer traffic because of detours that temporarily inconvenienced frequent patrons.
The project could have been completed without closing the entire road, but MDOT said it could have taken as long as six months.
“The contractor came back and said, ‘We can rebuild this whole thing better in 75 days with a total closure … The end product is better than it would be with a 180-day partial closure,’” explained MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa. “A total closure for a couple of months — it’s an inconvenience, to be certain. But it gets that work done, out of the way a lot sooner than doing it with a partial closure, having to contend with construction traffic for an entire season.”
The work is part of a three-year-, $160 million project to repave 10 miles of I-94 between Helmer Road and 17 ½ Mile Road, rebuild nine bridges and repair six others, MDOT said. It was projected to support nearly 2,032 jobs.
Next, crews will be working on rebuilding westbound I-94 bridge at 6 ½ Mile Road, Beadle Lake Road, 9 Mile Road and the Kalamazoo River as well as painting the bridge at I-194 and M-66 and bridge approach work at 17 Mile Road, MDOT said.