GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan drivers should expect longer commute times over the next few months as construction projects continue.
Projects across the state are expected to last through the end of the year, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. This may come to the chagrin of drivers who have been dealing with work zones for several months already.
“This is the time for what we call construction fatigue. Everyone’s kind of sick of the orange barrels, they’re sick of work zones. But because school has started, we are not even close to being done,” MDOT spokesperson John Richard said. “But there’s a lot of work to do and we’re going to keep doing it. We’re going to go all the way until the snow starts falling.”
Construction season typically ends in mid-November, but in recent years, that timeframe has moved to mid-December due to milder starts to winter and later snowfalls.
With the additional month for projects, MDOT said it is on the right path and timeline for completion.
“We are on time and on budget,” Richard said.
Currently, the major projects on the western side of the state include a full reconstruction on I-196 between Zeeland and Hudsonville and the full depth concrete pavement repairs on I-96 on the Kent and Ionia county lines. The latter has led to an implementation of a zipper merge that will last at least through November.
The zipper merge has its critics, but MDOT is hoping that drivers will use it correctly, avoid massive pileups during peak rush hour and keep potential road rage incidents to a minimum.
“Everything we do is under the assumption, under the hope that motorists are following the rules, reading signs, paying attention, using focus, and they’re not. That’s the toughest thing to deal with, really. I mean, roads aren’t dangerous — drivers are. Traffic is the issue,” Richard said.
Richard said that during the remainder of construction season, it’s important for drivers to plan for their trips to take longer and stay up to date with the latest closures and delays.