Many times you feel you are taking your life in your own hands when driving the Ford Freeway, I-196, between Hudsonville and Holland/Zeeland. It's a mess, and falling apart rapidly. So, what's up? Isn't it time to fix it?

Our news partner, WZZM TV13, reports MDOT confirmed Thursday it has plans to do a combination of resurfacing, patching and joint repairs on both the eastbound and westbound side of the road, but, likely, not until after Labor Day.

MDOT says it won't be until 2023 before a permanent reconstruction fix will be started.

 

Truckers who drive on I-196 say they've seen the different driving behavior and admit they are going a bit slower on the highway concerned they may break pieces on their load.

"I-94 in some spots are bad but I-196 makes (I-94) look like you're driving on a cloud," truck driver Phil Meachum said. "I-196 is bad in both directions."

The harsh winter caused all kinds of problems on that stretch of road.

The right lane of I-196 westbound closed for a short time in late-February after a plethora of potholes made it impossible to drive on. We reported the roadway caused damage to several cars including bent rims and popped tires.

Leaders at the Ottawa County Road Commission told us this winter they believe I-196 between Hudsonville and the Zeeland exit is way past its life expectancy. But MDOT's master plan doesn't call for a total fix for several years.

"(We know) folks are avoiding the right lane right now until we get that maintenance fix in there," MDOT spokesman John Richard said. "But after this summer it should be a lot better."

Richard said that section of road was fully reconstructed back in 2000 and was built in 1971.