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Roadpix - The M-6 "Southbelt Shuffle"M-6, Kent County, MI, USA, October 2, 2004
MDOT hosted the Southbelt Shuffle, an official "open house" showing off a 5-mile soon-to-be-opened section of M-6, or South Beltline Freeway. "Shufflers" (like myself) were invited to walk or bicycle the new freeway between the Kalamazoo Avenue and Byron Center Avenue exits.
Here near the start of the Shuffle, bottled water was given out to the bikers and walkers.
The crowd gathered near the center of the picture are getting their limited-edition Southbelt Shuffle T-shirts.
About 1/2 mile west of the Kalamazoo Avenue entrance ramp to westbound M-6, Shufflers were separated.
Bikers were directed onto the eastbound lanes while walkers continued on the westbound carriageway.
The BGS gantry in the distance is the first sign calling attention to US-131.
As continue west and approach US-131, the noisewall begins.
Interestingly enough, the noisewall continues up and along the freeway, even on the overpasses!
A long time ago, someone told me to "go play out on the freeway".
I finally got a chance to do just that... literally.
Still heading westbound on M-6, approaching the US-131 interchange. Note that the right lane is exit-only. This lane was "inherited" from the Kalamazoo Avenue entrance ramp, and it shows that MDOT expects a high volume of traffic along this stretch of freeway.
Here is a view of the southern half of the US-131/South Beltline interchange, and how it weaves into and with the ramps at 68th Street.
The roadway that lies directly in front of the camera is the eastbound C/D road for the US-131 ramps.
Here is another view of the same area.
This time we are looking at the ramps from eastbound M-6 to 68th Street (and southbound US-131), plus the connecting ramp from southbound US-131 to 68th Street.
The western end of the Shuffle was M-6 at the Byron Center Avenue interchange, where bicyclists were asked to turn around and head back eastward.
It's not everyday one gets to ride an ancient Schwinn Varsity out on a freeway. That bike is like an old friend. It's been with me with me to a lot of places, and I wasn't about to miss out on this chance to take it somewhere interesting, believe me.
This is the view along eastbound M-6 as it approaches US-131.
Note how the access to 68th Street is indicated on the sign. I would have expected it to be underneath US-131, not above it.
Also note that 68th Street is only accessible from eastbound M-6; westbounders can't get to it at all.
Well, you won't see this every day.
Many modes of transportation got to try out the South Beltline.
And believe it or not, this wasn't the only one that was out here, either.
Heading eastbound, away from US-131 and toward Kalamazoo Avenue again.
I was very suprised this particular shot turned out, as I was riding while snapping the picure.
It did feel fairly smooth on the bike... so much the better, once the road opens to the motoring public.