Interstate 696 (Walter P. Reuther Freeway) forms a northerly bypass of Detroit between Interstate 96 at Novi and Interstate 94 at St. Clair Shores. The freeway is mostly urban, traveling below grade from Southfield to Roseville and along a trenched freeway parallel to Eleven Mile Road between Evergreen Road (Exit 11) and Southfield Road (Exit 12). A cut and cover tunnel takes the route below parkland south of Lincoln Drive, where another trenched section leads I-696 to two additional cut and cover tunnels east of Greenfield Road (Exit 13).
A symmetrical stack interchange joins Interstate 696 with Interstate 75 at the city of Ferndale. The freeway parallels 10 Mile Road both leading to and away from that exchange, before it shifts northward back to 11 Mile Road ahead of the four-level interchange with Mound Road. I-696 carries eight lanes from M-5 to M-10, six lanes from M-10 (Lodge Freeway) to Greenfield Road (Exit 13), eight lanes again from Exit 13 to M-3 (Gratiot Road) and six lanes to I-94 at St. Clair Shores.
Interstate 696 opened initially between Interstate 96 and U.S. 24 in late 1963. Business Spur I-696 was designated the year before and decommissioned by 1970. The next portion of freeway opened was the stretch between Interstates 75 and 94 in 1979.1 Completion of the 28.2-mile route took another ten years with an opening on December 14, 1989. Opening ceremonies were held by Michigan Governor Blanchard for the 9.1-mile section from U.S. 24 (Telegraph Road) east to Interstate 75.2
Detroit – 1976/77 Michigan Official Highway Map
Interstate 696 next opened between I-75 at Madison Heights and I-94 at Roseville in 1979. Until 1989, I-696 at Southfield defaulted onto the Governor John Lodge Freeway (U.S. 10).