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Here’s how traffic is expected to be affected with the closure of westbound I-96

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The westbound lanes of I-96 will be closed from Plainfield to Alpine Avenue sometime after 7 p.m. Thursday night, July 5. This is the second phase of the project that had eastbound I-96 closed for two and a half months. The project is scheduled to be done on September 9.

The eastbound closure caused delays on southbound US-131 at the merge with I-96, as traffic from eastbound I-96 was diverted to southbound US-131. Detoured traffic used westbound I-196, which consistently had heavy traffic and delays, especially in the morning.

Here’s what can be expected with the closure of the westbound side:

  • Through traffic will detour onto westbound I-196 into downtown Grand Rapids, then north on US-131 to I-96.
  • Drivers will get backed up at the Plainfield Avenue exit, especially in the early days, either because Plainfield is their destination, or they forgot about the detour, or they didn’t notice the detour signs. When you see a backup at Plainfield Avenue (it’s presumed you’re using the Traffic section of FOX 17’s Android app or iOS app), take westbound I-196, then exit at Leonard Street to Plainfield Avenue.
  • Delays will be a regular feature of the weekday afternoon drive. Expect backups on westbound I-196 approaching downtown Grand Rapids as the single ramp to northbound 131 is overtaxed.
  • Afternoon delays can be expected on northbound US-131 from I-196, since detoured drivers will be eager to enter through traffic lanes before their lane exits at Leonard Street.
  • These delays could happen anytime, weekdays and weekends, when traffic gets heavy enough.


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