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I-96 "split Mmerge" starts Monday night

Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 10:14:32-04

Drivers are not happy it's orange barrel season again. 

"It's just kind of an inconvenience, more traffic, a little bit more stressful," one driver told News Ten. 

And some drivers are concerned it's dangerous. Because as soon as you hop onto I-96 East from Cedar Street, you're immediately on the highway. The merge lane no longer exists. 

"I think it's extremely dangerous. I almost got killed the other day pulling on there," one driver explained. "Because you see cars coming up at you and you can't get over."

MDOT crews have taken over the area between U.S. 127 and the Martin Luther King Blvd. exit on I-96 for bridge repairs. 

"We have several bridges along the corridor at Cedar Street, the ramps at I-96 business loop, Aurelius Rd. and there's over a creek and a railroad near Aurelius Rd that we'll be working on," explained MDOT's Kari Arend. "It's to preserve the life of these bridges."

Arend admits the new traffic pattern is tight. She told News Ten, "We are working on making a few tweaks to that, to make it a little easier to get on and off, but that is an active work zone."

And because it's a work zone, State Police say you better slow down to the required 65 m.p.h., or 45 m.p.h. when crews are working. 

Trooper Marco Jones said, "It's not gonna do you any good if you're involved in an accident, you're not making it home safely or on time anyway. So, just use some caution, slow down, pay attention to what's around you."

And, adhere to the signs. 

"It's directed there to stay in your own lane, so once you're in a given lane, you're directed to stay there," Trooper Jones said. 

Which he thinks should help drivers merge. A situation they'll be dealing with through August. 

Arend said next week drivers should also look out for a closure on Cedar Street. It'll be down to one lane each way at the I-96 overpass.