The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced that the yearlong construction on US-23 has reached the end with the much anticipated opening of the new Flex-lane today.
During the daily commutes of 6 am – 9 am and 4 pm – 7 pm, the temporary lane will be open to reduce traffic congestion on US-23 between M-14 and M-36. The strategy is expected to increase road capacity by 33%.
The new Flex-route is the development of the inside shoulder of US-23 into a temporary lane. Electronic signs will communicate to drivers when the lane is open for use. In addition to peak daily commute times, cameras will monitor and alert a command center to when traffic may build up at other times such as holidays, football games, and bad weather. The command center can then let drivers know via the electronic billboards that the Flex-lane is open for use.
This stretch of highway was chosen as a site for Flex-route development primarily because of the congestion at peak traffic times of the day. The extra lane is not designed to be a permanent third lane. There are several reasons a permanent third land was not constructed: 1) Traffic flow didn’t dictate the need except for a few hours a day, 2) the existing topography i.e. easements and other obstacles along the route didn’t allow for enough room to construct an extra lane, and 3) there was a significant cost savings to developing a Flex-route compared to other options.
MDOT encourages people to watch a brief tutorial explaining the new Flex-route.