GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Not only will westbound I-196 close on April 1 over the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, but several ramps in the interchange will be closing, too.
The freeway and ramp closures will be no April Fool’s joke. The project, which will add a lane over the Grand River, will actually mark the completion of a project years ago called The Fix on I-196.*
Westbound I-196 will be closed over the Grand River from April 1 to August 30. Through traffic will be routed on westbound I-96 to southbound US-131 to get back to westbound I-196. Local traffic will be able to use westbound I-196; the ramps to Fuller Avenue, College Avenue, and Ottawa Avenue will all be open.
The closure will force thousands of drivers a day to change their driving habits. The eastbound and westbound bridges carry more than 82,000 vehicles over the Grand River each day.
Plus, several ramps in downtown Grand Rapids will be closed. Naturally, the ramps that come after the bridge closure will be closed (westbound I-196 to northbound US-131 and to southbound US-131). But two ramps from US-131 to I-196 will be closed due to their proximity to construction: Southbound US-131 to eastbound I-196 and northbound US-131 to westbound I-196 will be closed.
Here are the applicable detours:
- I-196 westbound closed at the Grand River: On westbound I-96, do not take the exit to downtown Grand Rapids on I-196. Continue west on I-96 to US-131, then south on US-131 to I-196 west.
- Ramp closed from US-131 southbound to eastbound I-196: Go west on I-196, exit at Lane Avenue, take the ramp to eastbound I-196.
- Ramp closed from US-131 northbound to westbound I-196: Continue north on US-131, exit at Leonard Street, take the ramp to southbound US-131, then exit to I-196 west.
*The Fix on I-196 reconstructed I-196 east of downtown Grand Rapids to Fuller Avenue in 2010. At the time, the westbound side of the freeway was constructed with an extra lane that ends at Ottawa Avenue. When the bridge widening is completed, that lane will continue west over the Grand River.