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I-94 construction project began Monday in Jackson County

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 11:35:34-04

Of all the road construction projects happening around Mid-Michigan this summer, this may be the biggest.

Today the Michigan Department of Transportation started overhauling more than seven miles of I-94 in Jackson County.

The stretch of 94 between M-60 and Sargent Road hasn't been reconstructed like this since the 1950s, and you can tell.

That's why MDOT is pouring $110 million into it right now.

"I believe that it's about 10 to 15 years overdue, its good to see it starting," Tom Kopplin said.

Kopplin drives this stretch I-94 almost every day, and can't help but notice how beat-up it is.

"It is quite deteriorated and resulted in somewhat rather unsafe traffic conditions," he said.

Kopplin isn't alone. Kyle Liechty drives from Jackson to Detroit for work several times a week and thinks it's one of the most hazardous stretches in the state.

"I spend a lot of time on the highways and there is no stretch of road I hate more than that strip of I-94 to Jackson corridor to 127. Its just a dangerous area," Liechty said.

The Michigan Department of Transportation incorporated a lot of complaints about the highway into the plans.

"I think I'm most excited about the additional shoulder widths that will be along the whole corridor, in the median, and on the outside. Those are some huge safety improvements that will be done along with the pavement work, " Manager of Jackson Transportation Service Center Kelby Wallace said.

The plan is to keep two lanes open in both directions so the construction doesn't add too much time to the daily commute. Drivers told me they're willing to put up with some backups to get a smoother ride.

"Its improvements that have to happen, they may as well get it done so we don't have to worry about this strip of road for a long time," Liechty said.

MDOT will be replacing two bridges over the Grand River, adding roundabouts, and resurfacing parts of Cooper Street.

This phase of the project won't be finished until November of 2019 and there will be lane closures at night.