The multi-year modernization plan for the Interstate 94 corridor in Jackson County is still underway, the highlight of which is the creation of a diverging-diamond concept at the I-94, U.S. 127 and West Avenue interchange.
“The interchange has traffic briefly cross over to the left and allows for two-phase operation at all its signalized intersections,” said Aaron S. Jenkins, communications representative with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
He added that the upgrades will result in marked safety improvements thanks to traffic signals and pavement markings. The diverging-diamond approach was selected after a study of the interchange was conducted in 2019.
“The diverging diamond helps improve the operations of the interchange, efficiently addresses safety concerns, has minor impacts to property acquisition and the environment, and will provide a nice gateway into Jackson,” Jenkins said.
The diverging-diamond concept was introduced to the public at two separate meetings.
The plan includes roundabouts, which the city chose as safer, more efficient and less costly, and more aesthetically pleasing than conventional intersections. According to Jenkins, roundabouts reduce serious accidents by 75%, and the I-94 modernization study completed in the mid-2000s indicated that three through lanes are needed.
“We are excited to see the state work with Jackson to improve safety and efficiency on Michigan roadways for the community and our visitors,” said Craig Hatch, president and CEO of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.
Funding for the project comes from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan program for highways and bridges critical to Michigan’s economy.
This project will pick up where the 2019-2020 project left off. Major construction work is scheduled to be completed in late fall 2022 with some work spilling over into 2023.