The Michigan Department of Transportation (M-DOT) held a public meeting to share details on a new flex route that will stretch across 12 miles of nearby I-96.

Each day, roughly 163,000 vehicles traverse between Kent Lake Road and the I-275/I-696/M-5 interchange on I-96 near Novi. Recurring congestion going eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon have caused excessive travel times and stop-and-go traffic for drivers. To help alleviate these traffic headaches, M-DOT is moving forward with a Flex Route project, similar in many ways to the one recently implemented on US-23 between M-14 and M-36.

The big difference with route on 96, however, will be ramp metering at select on-ramps. “Ramp Metered When Flashing” signs will alert motorists when traffic signals on the on-ramps are on. The entering traffic will form 2 lanes, preparing to stop at the signal. Alternating green signals for each lane will allow the motorist closest to the signal to enter the freeway. Signals are expected to stay green only for a second or two. Design maps show a parking area for law enforcement just beyond the signals. Ramp metering will be used at 3 locations: at Milford Road ramps, Novi Road ramps, and the westbound Wixom Road ramp. With this, Michigan will join eighteen other states that currently use ramp metering.

The inside shoulder of each direction will be transformed into the Flex Lane, creating 4 lanes of traffic when operational. Project Manager Robert Marz said that work will begin in 2021 on reconstructing those shoulders for traffic and updating their drainage.

M-DOT’s goal is to have the lights up and running first quarter, 2022. The project is projected to cost $100-million. (MK)