MT. MORRIS TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/14/2019) - The delays are over for the southbound side of I-475 while the completion date for the northbound side remains hidden in the snow.
The southbound lanes of I-475 between Clio and Carpenter roads are scheduled to reopen soon after nearly eight months of construction.
"All summer, everywhere you go, you saw it. If you were going on 75 and 475 back and forth, it was just a mess," Swartz Creek resident Ron McLean said.
Michigan Department of Transportation Bay Region Communication Representative Jocelyn Hall said southbound I-475 reopened between Clio and Carpenter roads Friday morning.
"We appreciate the public's patience with this project. We know that these kind of interstate reconstruction jobs are inconvenient, especially for people who are used to using those routes as part of their regular, daily commute. It's really something that's a priority for us to get those opened back up as quickly as possible," Hall said.
Some drivers believe the timing of it will provide smoother travel for those heading up north.
"It's probably terrific for hunters for opening up and making their trip a little better because most of them are going quite a ways up north," McLean said.
The southbound lanes have been closed since March while MDOT contractors completely rebuilt the road surface. The opening has been delayed at least two months by bad weather during the construction season.
Northbound I-475 will remain closed for the foreseeable future between Carpenter and Clio roads. That side of the freeway closed in July for a total rebuild and reduction from three lanes to two.
Since then, one contributing factor continues to cause delays.
"At this time, based on the weather that we're experiencing, we're not able to do paving in these kinds of temperatures. We need much higher temperatures to be able to complete that work, and there is still a lot of paving that has to occur out there. We'll probably have a better idea in the next couple of weeks where the northbound I-475 lanes really stand for the year," Hall said.
MDOT initially planned to complete the southbound lanes, which have a new pavement designed to last 50 years, in July and then close the northbound lanes. Instead, a rainy spring set the project well behind schedule.
Workers spent part of Thursday clearing ice from the road surface in advance of the road opening again, so drivers won't have to worry about that.
Still, drivers should take their time. MDOT says workers will be out again Friday morning removing barriers.