Faced with the need for a full-depth reconstruction of seven miles of Interstate 96 in suburban Detroit, including rehabilitation of 37 bridges, new LED lighting and storm sewers, geometric upgrades, signing, extensive landscaping and safety improvements, Michigan Dept. of Transportation modeled 24 closure options and then reduced them to five, including full closure and several options for partial closures. Then, it asked the local community for its input.

In an unusual move, MDOT asked the public to vote whether to close the freeway completely for seven months during construction or to partially close the roadway while maintaining traffic on the freeway. It also explained the pros and cons—great inconvenience but a much shorter schedule for complete closure versus less inconvenience for a longer period and much higher cost for partial closure. Ultimately, roughly 60% of the 1,700 people who voted chose the full-closure option.
MDOT saved more than $1 million through productivity gains with the use of e-construction to manage paper flow, virtually eliminating document losses and claim conflicts. The project engaged the local community through social media and the project website. The rules were the following: Post relevant project information daily, respond to people immediately, manage the message and be part of the conversation.

In the end, complete closure lasted less than six months. The rebuild cost $151 million.


Livonia and Redford Township, Mich.

Key Players

Owner Michigan Dept. of Transportation

Lead Design Firm HNTB and Parsons Brinckerhoff

Contractor Dan’s Excavating Inc.

Traffic Maintenance Access Engineering Inc.

Permanent Signage Northwest Consultants