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Special Report: Highway Headache: Part 2

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
Special Report: Highway Headache: Part 2 story image
WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's one of the busiest highways in the state, and one many of us travel every day.

The stretch of I-94 from Kalamazoo to Battle Creek is consistently filled with traffic tie-ups, bad accidents, and road closures.

But a plan to fix these frustrating issues may be gaining some traction, if political leaders don't slow it down.

Our I-Team investigation the past few months found there's very littel innovating and imagining these days when it comes to trying to fix a traffic problem spot.

Many of our leaders, it appears, simply feel defeated enough to not even begin to look at expanding our section of road that is in desperate need.

I-94 is the busiest two-lane highway in the entire state.

Incremental work has been done, and some work may be done in the next 15 years to fully expand I-94 from US-131 to Sprinkle Road, but that's it.

The dream of many for decades in West Michigan is to expand I-94 to three lanes in each direction from Kalamazoo to Jackson, but it would be costly--likely more than $1 billion, we found.

"There's so many players that would come into play," said M-DOT spokesman Nick Schirripa. "The stars would have to align to make that happen."

That didn't stop people in Detroit, though, from dreaming for the past decade.

They have a shovel ready project that would cost well more than $1 billion to fix I-94 through the heart of Detroit.

Once the funding is there, the project will begin.

The Detroit fix has been a 10-to-20 year process, so it appears leaders in our area may be 20 years behind to get it done.

There is an idea out there, however, that could speed up the process significantly.

The thought centers around creating a pay express lane, where you could choose to get away from all those trucks by paying a toll.

Senator Mike Nofs says he would sponsor legislation to get it done, if the federal government would sign off on it without Congressional approval.

The belief is that it's likely creating a toll lane might require an act of Congress, which could put the brakes on the idea for good.

Governor Rick Snyder has said in the past that he's not for tolls, but it appears in our one-on-one interview with him on Wednesday, he might be softening his tone.

He knows how difficult it is to raise revenues to get roads fixed, much less expanded.

The Governor and others say that most of I-94 won't be touched, though, until there's some new revenue coming in to fix what we have.

For a list of billion dollar projects around the country, click here.

For average daily traffic maps for Michigan, click here.
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Business News

Last Update on July 25, 2014 17:51 GMT

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The Commerce Department says that orders for durable goods increased 0.7 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 1 percent decline in May.

A category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans rose a solid 1.4 percent, recovering after a revised 1.2 percent drop in May. It was the best showing since orders in this core capital goods category rose 4.7 percent in March.

The strength last month came from solid gains in demand for commercial aircraft and machinery. Economists expect economic activity will strengthen in the second half of the year, helped by stronger factory production.

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DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether an electrical problem can knock out the air bags on some older Hyundai Sonatas.

The probe announced Friday covers about 394,000 midsize cars from the 2006 through 2008 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 83 complaints about the problem. The agency says a sensor inside the seat belt buckle might fail. This can cause the air bags to malfunction or not inflate if there's a crash.

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Investigations can lead to recalls but none has been issued so far in this case.

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The bill also aims to make a dent in illegal immigration by prohibiting people without Social Security numbers from claiming a portion of the credit reserved for low-income families.

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LONDON (AP) -- Official figures show Britain's economy has surpassed its pre-recession size for the first time since the 2008 global banking crisis.

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Treasury chief George Osborne said Friday's figures marked a "major milestone in our long-term economic plan."

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The closely-watched Ifo Institute survey fell to 108 points in July from 109.7 points in June. Economists had widely been expecting a slight rise over June's figure.

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The United States last week imposed tougher sanctions on Russia over its alleged unwillingness to help end the conflict in Ukraine.

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It says flights will resume in stages starting Saturday morning. The decision also applies to subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.

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Airline spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said Friday Flight AC84 was advised to circle by Israeli Air Traffic Control shortly before 12 p.m. local time. She says the plane altered its course about 5 miles from Ben Gurion airport and landed 10 minutes later without incident. She did not say why.

Arthur says the return flight to Toronto departed Tel Aviv about two hours later. The airline plans to operate this evening's flight to Tel Aviv.

Flights by Air Canada and other airlines to Tel Aviv resumed Thursday after a suspension Tuesday following a Hamas rocket strike nearby.

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