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Bridge work on Interstate 196 coming to southwest Grand Rapids this fall

The three-year-long project will cost $100 Million to rebuild the bridges above the Grand River and Market Avenue.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Michigan Department of Transportation workers are gearing up for a $100 million reconstruction of bridges above the Grand River and Market Avenue on Interstate 196. 

The entire project will take three years to complete, and community members got to ask engineers on the job questions about it all Thursday night. 

"This is a full bridge replacement of the eastbound and the westbound 196 structures over the Grand River and Market Avenue," MDOT Spokesperson John Richard says.

The project will revamp the 1,000 foot-long stretches. The bridges will be made wider for more than 50,000 drivers they see every day.

"(It is) tentatively scheduled for this October," Richard says. "We'll close down eastbound 196 at Market Avenue. That will remain closed through 2024."

After that, MDOT workers will work on the other side through November of 2025. The bridges haven't been touched since they were built more than 60 years ago.

"It's got a huge price tag. And of course, there are environmental issues over the Grand River. So that does increase the cost and that increases the time as well," Richard says. 

"It's all paid for by the Rebuilding Michigan program.

"These supplemental funding packages are really, really helpful because we've been underfunded for so so many years," Richard says.

During MDOT's virtual presentation Thursday night, some people were concerned about this project starting up while another one continues a few miles away on I-196 in Ottawa County. 

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"Those will wrap up for this year. Then we'll work on the other side for 196 between Zeeland and Hudsonville so that project will still be ongoing but we'll have the other side completed," Richard says.

There'll be closures and detours drivers should look out for in the coming months when road work begins.

"Along that stretch even before M-6 , which is the official detour, taking eastbound M-6 to North by U.S. 131, there's plenty of places to exit," Richard says. "You can get off at 44th Street, you can get off at Chicago Drive in Jenison, you can get off at M-11, which is 28th Street or Wilson. You can get get up to 196 Business Route, which is also called Chicago Drive. And then of course all the way up to Marquette Avenue. So there are plenty of places for folks to disperse."

Drivers can keep up to date on MDOT construction projects and traffic updates here.

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