The official start of orange barrel season is underway with demolition set to begin on the I-94/Portage Road overpass.

Whether your commute takes you over Portage Road or on Portage Road, chances are your drive is about to get more frustrating. Call it growing pains, but the ongoing widening project for I-94 while much needed will for sure cause some headaches.

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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced a tentative start date for the next step in widening 2.7 miles of I-94 from four to six lanes between Lovers Lane and Sprinkle Road in Kalamazoo.

Weather permitting, MDOT will close Portage Road beginning at 8:00 p.m. Friday, April 30, 2021. The closure will allow for the demolition of the eastbound I-94 bridge/overpass above Portage Road. Traffic will be detoured for Portage Road and eastbound I-94 drivers will be diverted to a lane normally reserved for westbound traffic.

Don't bother camping out waiting for an explosion or implosion, crews will do a physical teardown of the concrete structure. The teardown will be similar to the demolition of an I-94 overpass in Berrien County. Check out the timelapse video of that demo below.


The much-needed widening project comes with an $87 million price tag. Once complete the I-94/Portage interchange will be similar to the one at Westnedge Avenue. The project also includes rebuilding four bridges and one culvert, traffic signal upgrades, new signs, freeway lighting, and noise barrier installation.

This $87 million investment will connect expansion work completed in previous years along the corridor. You can check out MDOT's video below for a more detailed explanation of the project.

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