Interstate 696 is an east–west auxiliary Interstate Highway in the US state of Michigan. The state trunkline highway is also known as the Walter P. Reuther Freeway, named for the prominent auto industry union head by the Michigan Legislature in 1971. I-696 is a bypass route, detouring around the city of Detroit through the city’s northern suburbs.
About Interstate 696 in brief
Interstate 696 is an east–west auxiliary Interstate Highway in the US state of Michigan. The state trunkline highway is also known as the Walter P. Reuther Freeway, named for the prominent auto industry union head by the Michigan Legislature in 1971. I-696 is a bypass route, detouring around the city of Detroit through the city’s northern suburbs in Oakland and Macomb counties. It starts by branching off I-96 and I-275 at its western terminus in Farmington Hills, and runs through suburbs including Southfield, Royal Oak and Warren before merging into I-94 at St. Clair Shores on the east end. It has eight lanes for most of its length and is approximately 10 miles north of downtown Detroit. The western third of the freeway opened in 1963, and the eastern third was completed in January 1979. The central segment was the subject of much controversy during the 1960s and 1970s. The speed limit was raised from 55 to 70 miles per hour. In addition, some interchanges were reconfigured in 2006. The freeway picks up 10 Mile Road, which forms a pair of service drives for the main freeway. It also crosses a line of the Canadian National Railway that also carries Amtrak passenger service between Detroit and Pontiac East of the rail crossing.
Immediately east of the zoo, the Interstate has a four-level stack-level interchange with I-75 and M-10. The Interstate passes through the town of Lathrup Village before turning southward and then easterly on an S-shaped path to run along 10 mile Road. This segment of freeway is known for its extensive use of retaining walls; large landscaped plazas form short tunnels for freeway traffic near the Green Road exit. Local residents sometimes refer to I-622 as \”The Autobahn of Detroit\”. Planning for the freeway started in the 1950s. Michigan state officials proposed the designation I-98, but this was not approved. Construction started on the first segment in 1961, and the Lodge Freeway was designated Business Spur Interstate 696 the following year. The freeway curves southeasterly and then northeasterlies through the complex as it runs eastward through the adjacent residential subdivisions. The Orthodox Jewish community in Oak Park was concerned about pedestrian access across the freeway. The Detroit Zoo and the City of Detroit also fought components of the highway design. These concessions delayed the completion of I- 622 until December 15, 1989. Since completion, the speed limit has been raised to 70 mph.