New westbound I-196 on-ramp to be added downtown
Published on April 04, 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich –– A new westbound I-196 on-ramp is coming to Division Avenue downtown. Construction on the on-ramp begins Monday and is expected to end in July.
Starting Monday, Ionia Avenue north of Michigan Street and the eastbound I-196 on-ramp will be closed. Ionia Avenue through traffic will be detoured to Michigan Street to Monroe Avenue to Mason Street.
With the I-196 on-ramps closed, westbound drivers will be detoured via Michigan Street to the Lane Avenue on-ramp. Eastbound drivers will be detoured via Michigan Street to the College Avenue on-ramp. The Ionia Avenue eastbound I-196 on-ramp will reopen in late April.
In addition to the new westbound I-196 on-ramp, this project will:
- Reconstruct Ionia Avenue from Michigan Street to the City’s Ionia North parking lot
- End Ionia Avenue south of the Ionia North parking lot
- Provide access to Division Avenue from Michigan Street via Ionia Avenue
- Convert Ionia Avenue to a two-way street between the Ionia North parking lot and Fairbanks Street
- Remove on-street parking on the west side of Ionia Avenue between the Ionia North parking lot and Fairbanks Street. Parking on the east side of the street will be maintained.
- Remove all on-street parking on Ionia Avenue between Michigan Street and the westbound I-196 on-ramp
- Remove the sidewalk on the west side of Ionia Avenue between Michigan Street and the westbound I-196 on-ramp and replace it with one on the east side of the street
Starting in June, Division Avenue will be closed between Michigan Street and the westbound I-196 on-ramp. Northbound Division Avenue traffic will be detoured to Crescent Street to Ionia Avenue to Michigan Street to Monroe Avenue to Mason Street. Southbound Division Avenue traffic will be detoured to Mason Street to Monroe Avenue to Lyon Street.
During the entire project, the pedestrian detour will use Michigan Street, Ottawa Avenue and Fairbanks Street.
Detour routes will be marked and maps will be available HERE. The City is coordinating the project with the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) work on westbound I-196 to minimize traffic disruptions.
The project came out of the Michigan Street Corridor Plan, which was completed in 2015 and recommended changes for the Ottawa-Ionia I-196 interchange. Work was completed on the Ottawa Avenue off-ramp in 2017.
“The plan looked at how to improve traffic circulation along Michigan Street,” said Suzanne Schulz, the City’s managing director of design, development and community engagement. “This is a rapidly growing and regionally significant corridor that will only become busier. The street could not be widened, so we examined the street network to see what we could do differently.
“One of the outcomes of that was the recommendation to better integrate the Ottawa-Ionia freeway interchange into our street grid to provide better freeway access without forcing traffic onto Michigan Street. With this project, those wanting to access westbound I-196 will be able to do so via Division Avenue.”
The City partnered with MDOT, the Grand Valley Metro Council and Grand Valley State University after the completion of the Michigan Street Corridor Plan to further analyze the recommended changes for the interchange.
The $1.87 million project is funded by:
- $1.2 million from the City’s Vital Streets Fund
- $359,620 from the Grand Valley Metro Council’s transportation improvement program
- $312,500 from MDOT
- $16,794 from the City’s Capital Fund
Updates on all of the City’s Vital Streets projects are available HERE or by calling 311 or 616.456.3000.