NO. 4 ROAD: 96 fixed

The reconstruction of I-96 leaves no papertrail

Mary Ellen Shoup / October 08, 2015

In early 2014, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) broke ground on a highway project that would rebuild 7 miles (56 lane-miles) of I-96 between Newburgh Road and Telegraph Road in Livonia. The project required reconstructing 7 miles of depressed urban freeway including 22 ramps, and rehabilitating 37 bridges and eight interchanges in less than six months.

Originally built in the 1970s, I-96 had exceeded its useful lifetime, according to MDOT. While inconvenient for motorists, completely shutting down the highway saved money, even with the $3 million bonus to contractors for finishing the project early.

MDOT managed 65 staffers, 55 contractor and subcontractor firms and nearly 500 construction workers during the entire construction project.

Approximately 150,000 drivers were affected by the 7-mile road closure for more than five months, and sought alternate routes such as I-94, I-696 or the Lodge Freeway, until I-96 reopened to traffic in September 2014 after its $153.5 million makeover. 

“The commitment made to our stakeholders was based on the feedback obtained from multiple public outreach meetings and a public survey,” MDOT’s Sean Kerley told Roads & Bridges. MDOT utilized dynamic traffic modeling for design, social media for pre-project outreach and real-time communication with the public during construction.

“Meeting such a lofty goal required innovative thinking and innovative construction technolgies,”  Kerley said.

An A+B contracting format set the expedited pace of the project in addition to a paperless document management system, known as “e-construction.” The entire project was completed in 167 days, the most ambitious timeframe MDOT had ever undertaken. 

Paperless “e-construction,” as its name suggests, involves eliminating paper during the construction project. Instead, the project utilized technology implementation, including the use of iPads and iPhones in the field, mobile design and construction surveying software, electronic document submittals and automated document workflows.

The department estimates the I-96 e-construction productivity saved the state more than $1 million on the project.

Stringless paving technology also was used to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of the project. 

Now open to traffic, I-96 serves as a more efficient and safer route to southeast Michigan. R&B

Project: 96 Fix

Location: Linovia, Mich.

Michigan Department of Transportation

Michigan Department of Transportation

Contractor: Dan’s Excavating Inc. 

Cost: $153.5 million

Length: 7 miles

Completion Date: Sept. 21, 2014

About the Author

Shoup is associate editor for Roads & Bridges