Good news and heads up!  If you travel along I-196 eastbound through downtown Grand Rapids, the lane restriction after Fuller Ave is gone and the Beltline exit is open once again.

As part of the I-96/I-196 flip, the Beltline exit has been closed since around this time last year, but I noticed Sunday as I was headed from downtown Grand Rapids to do some shopping on 28th Street that the left lane is back open. MDOT actually posted on Twitter that the construction ended and the Beltline exit opened on Friday afternoon.

Now, if you plan to get on I-96 East, you’ll need to be in the left lane as that’s the only one that merges onto I-96 eastbound.  I say that only because we’ve gotten so used to being in the right lane and then crossing over, but if you stay in the right lane, you’ll very quickly be taking the Beltline exit, and now there’s no way to cross back over to I-96 if you accidentally get on the exit.  Both the exit to the Beltline and the merge lane to I-96 eastbound are separated by a concrete wall now. So after you go under the Fuller St Bridge, if you’re staying on 96, you’ll need to be in the left lane.

On the plus side, it’s now super easy to get on the Beltline, without having to take Fulton/M-21 and then backtrack to the Beltline.

MDOT says in a press release that the I-96 eastbound ramp to the Beltline is still closed but is scheduled to open early this week.