Area motorists aren’t the only ones who can’t wait until construction is finally complete. Those involved in public safety are looking forward to it just as much.

A new traffic shift is in place and new ramp closures for motorists to contend with along US-23. A lot of the construction and bridge work has been occurring in Northfield Township, where Fire Chief Bill Wagner says there are a number of challenges and he’ll be happy when it’s over. He noted that a big change happened this past week with the traffic shift from roughly 8 Mile to Barker Road. All four freeway lanes, both north and south, were moved over to the southbound side of US-23. That’s so M-DOT crews can reconstruct the bridges over Barker Road and the railroad on the northbound side.

Wagner tells WHMI some good news is that the southbound 8 Mile entrance ramp has also re-opened. However every day and every call they go on, he says crews have to take an extra 30 seconds to think about the route they’re going and if something is closed or not. Wagner says they’re trying to focus on the big picture and when it’s done, it will be much nicer.

Wagner says the biggest hurdle right now is the 6 Mile bridge, which M-DOT is hoping to have open before school starts. He sees that as being a big challenge though but says things will get better once the 6 Mile Road bridge re-opens. At that point, he says most all bridges will be complete, at least through the Northfield Township stretch of the project.

As much of a challenge as it is for emergency response, Wagner says it will really be a challenge for buses once the new school year starts. That’s because the high school is located on the west side of the freeway and the hamlet area is mostly on the east side - with 6 Mile being the main route. He says buses would have to get on US-23 at Barker and then get off on 6 Mile if it’s still open. However, he says the 6 Mile exit ramp will be closing for repaving, so then buses would have to go up to North Territorial and then come back around.

Updates on the US-23 Flex Route project and closures can be found through the link provided. M-DOT photo. (JM)