I-196 bridge to open in downtown GR on Friday

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After months of construction, the I-196 bridge over the Grand River opens back up on Friday.

On Wednesday, News 8 got a tour of the new bridge in downtown Grand Rapids.

The bridge over the Grand River was widened to three lanes.

About a decade ago, I-196 was re-done east of downtown. At the time, it was widened by several lanes.

However, one lane dropped as drivers approached downtown, which created congestion.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says the solution was to widen the bridge to match the freeway.

“This was not your average road project,” said Tanya Pawlukiewicz, MDOT engineer. “This project definitely had some challenges working over the Grand River, especially for contractor access, getting materials and operators’ equipment here and over top of the river.”

The only exception to the freeway being open is the Ionia Avenue on-ramp, which will still be closed for a few more weeks.

In addition, the causeway in the Grand River that allows contractors to have access will not be removed until October. That’s when the Riverwalk next to the freeway will open as well.

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