GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In 2010, the so-called "Fix on I-196" left some unfinished business for the Michigan Department of Transportation. One of the lanes built back then on westbound I-196 ends suddenly at Ottawa Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids.
MDOT is working on that.
Eventually, another lane will be added to westbound I-196 over the Grand River. That has been the plan all along.
But the project involves more than just adding a lane. New bridge supports must be built and existing bridge supports must be extended. To do that, crews have to work along the banks of the Grand River and actually in the river.
Disturbing the river means special care must be taken. For instance, divers a few years ago surveyed the population of mussels that live in the water. Those mussels had to be moved. This year, "clean stone" is being used to create temporary land that allows for construction of the bridge support extensions that will carry the new lane over the water.
"They're very strict about what goes into the river," says MDOT spokesperson John Richard. "They take all this stone, they take it out of the river, and then put it on trucks, and they move it to the other side of the river, and this is all clean stone."
None of this is affecting traffic on the bridge. That will come in 2018 when partial lanes will be built on the north and south sides of the bridge. Lane closures can be expected then.