- Interstate 696
alternate_name=Walter P. Reuther Freeway
established="First signed:" 1962
Michigan Department of Transportation|title=MDOT's Physical Reference Finder Application|date= 2001- 2007| work=|url=http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/prfinder/|accessdate=2008-01-13]
terminus_a=Jct|state=MI|I|96|I|275|M|5 in Novi
terminus_b=Jct|state=MI|I|94 in St. Clair Shores
junction=Jct|state=MI|US|24|M|10 in Southfield
Jct|state=MI|M|1 in Royal Oak
Jct|state=MI|I|75 in Royal Oak
Jct|state=MI|M|53 in Center Line
Jct|state=MI|M|97 in Warren
Jct|state=MI|M|3 in Roseville
Interstate 696 (I-696) is an interstate highway entirely within the
U.S. stateof Michigan. I-696 is also known as the Walter P. ReutherFreeway, named for a prominent figure in early automobile factory labor union activity. I-696 is a spur route, partially circling the city of Detroit, but traveling entirely through Detroit's northern suburbs. It starts by branching off of Interstate 96at the west end and ends by merging into Interstate 94on the east end. It has 6–8 lanes for most of its length and is approximately 10 miles north of downtown Detroit. It is a major morning and evening commute route, bringing many people living west of Detroit into the suburbs north of the city and into downtown Detroit via other Michigan highways such as M-10 ("The Lodge" freeway) and M-39 (The Southfield freeway). Some local residents affectionately call this freeway "The Autobahn of Detroit." [ [http://www.edmunds.com/apps/vdpcontainers/do/vdp/articleId=44033/pageNumber=7 Long-Term Test: 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle ] ]
I-696 is part of the original Interstate highway system as outlined in 1956-58, with the first portion from Novi to Southfield opening in 1962, then the eastern third between I-75 and I-94 in early 1979, and the middle portion of I-696 between Telegraph Road and I-75 was completed in December 1989.
The segment of I-696 located between the
Mixing Bowland I-75 is known for its extensive use of retaining wallsand three large landscaped caps. As a consequence of those beautification features, explosive flammable cargoes are banned on that segment.
As part of the overall rehabilitation to the
Mixing Bowlinterchange, a new partial interchange at Franklin Road has been constructed. An exit ramp from I-696 eastbound to American Drive opened in April 2006. An entrance ramp from Franklin Road to I-696 westbound opened in July 2006. The Franklin Road overpass re-opened in October 2006.cite web|url=http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_I-696_M-10_154121_7.pdf|format=pdf|publisher=Michigan Department of Transportation|date= 2006-03-22|accessdate=2006-05-30|title=I-696/M-10 Reconstruction from Lahser Road to Beck Road (Project brochure)]
I-696's western terminus is also the northern terminus of I-275, making this junction one of the few points that is the terminus of two three-digit Interstate Highways with different parents.
Construction of I-696 took much longer than expected and went over budget. The major contributors to this were the Pleasant Ridge and
Detroit Zoolawsuits to stop construction of the freeway. Another was the fact that the eastern end of I-696 was constructed in place of many neighborhoods, many of which were less than 10-15 years in age. In fact, some of the neighborhoods in the Hoover and Van Dyke area were under construction at the same time as the I-696 project which led to confrontations between the two construction projects meaning that it ended up costing more to purchase the land.
For a short time in the 1970s, M-6 was used in place of the routing for the segment under construction east of I-75. It was unclear whether the lawsuits would force the center segment to be canceled, which would have left the I-696 freeway discontiguous. M-6 signs were erected on both the frontage roads and the divided road of 11 Mile at Mound Road.
I-696 will be closed on it's major stretches starting in May of 2009 for an extensive repair and restructure job. Repair is slated to be completed in September of 2009, when the highway will reopen on a limited basis.
I-696 branches off of I-94, and follows 11 Mile Road in doing so. At this point, I-94 is going North and South, and 11 Mile continues eastward to Jefferson Ave. Jefferson follows the coastline of St. Clair Shores, and
Lake St. Clair.This puts the beginning of I-696 just a couple miles west of the coast. Starting in Macomb County, I-696 travels west through parts of Warren, and Center Linebefore passing into Oakland County. From here, it passes Madison Heights, and into Royal Oak. I-696 deviates from paralleling 11 Mile Road at Dequindre. Here it makes a line south and drops to follow 10 Mile Road West. It passes right over Pleasant Ridge, and crosses Woodward Avenue. Heading further west, the highway passes Oak Park, and the Detroit Zoo. It resumes the path of 11 Mile Road shortly thereafter. However this does not last for more than a few miles, as after entering Southfield, the Highway begins to weave slightly in order to line up to I-96. Here, just northeast of Novi, MI, is where a very entangled highway system begins. I-696 enters from the west heading east. Becoming 5 lanes wide, it collides into an exchange with M-5, or Grand River Avenue, and I-275 south (this is I-275's northern terminus), and then continues past this exchange to merge with I-96. This is where I-696 ends, as all passengers have to either divert south to I-275 (which is considered I-96 east due to its south drop before closing in on detroit), or continue onto I-96.
* [http://www.state-ends.com/michigan/i696/ Interstate 696 (Michigan Highway Ends.com)]
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