Good news for the long-suffering motorists on the stretch of US-23 north of Ann Arbor: All lanes are expected to reopen Saturday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The Michigan Department of Transportation says the lanes will be open by 3 p.m.
For more than five months, motorists have been dealing with single-lane traffic between Barker and Silver Lake roads - first on the northbound side of the highway, then in the southbound lanes. Workers began rehabilitating four bridges on or over the highway near Whitmore Lake on March 1.
MDOT spokeswoman Kari Arend attributed the earlier-than-expected lane openings to hard work by the contractor and cooperative weather.
But the good news is tempered by a disclaimer: The work isn't completely over. Drivers can still expect intermittent single-lane closures on both the northbound and southbound sides of US-23 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., starting Monday.
The intermittent closures will be relatively infrequent and should have much less impact than the around-the-clock, single-lane traffic of the past several months, Arend said.
"It will be nothing like it was before,'' she said.
The Eight Mile Road bridge over US-23 and the ramp from Eight Mile Road to southbound US-23 will remain closed until the end of August, Arend said.
The entire $8.2 million project, which includes repaving US-23 and M-14 between Silver Lake Road in Green Oak Township and Barton Drive in Ann Arbor, is expected to be finished by mid-October, Arend said.
"After that, you're pretty much going to see us out of the way,'' she said.
Although, lately my commute has been away from Ann Arbor, I'll be commuting there again shortly, and while I take backroads most of the time anyway. This at least lowers traffic that way, as well as clearing up that clustermuck intersection at M-36.