HANCOCK - With summer in full swing, off-road vehicles are at a peak in the Keweenaw.
With that in mind, riders in the area who will cross the Portage Lake Lift Bridge are being reminded to call ahead to police departments on their side of the bridge. All ORV riders crossing the bridge are required to have a police escort.
Three signs were put up on the north side of the bridge Sunday - one each on the trails approaching the bridge, and one at the trailhead - as well as at least two signs on the south side, notifying riders of the need for an escort and the designated crossing times. While the Keweenaw ATV Club produced the signs, a different sponsoring group is putting them up south of the bridge, said Ray Chase, secretary/treasurer of the Keweenaw ATV Club.
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One of the signs put up by the Keweenaw ATV Club notifying riders of the need to call police for an escort across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge is seen by the bridge Friday afternoon. At least five signs went up Sunday on trails heading to the bridge carrying the notifications.
"They've spaced them up the trail to give folks an opportunity to call ahead and make arrangements," he said.
ORV crossing times are 9:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Traffic varies- there are no figures on how many riders cross the bridge annually, said Hancock Police Lt. Randy Mayra said, but daily numbers differ substantially.
"There were two that wanted to cross today, but it could be several days and you might not hear from anybody," he said. "It varies with the weather, and if it's a holiday."
When possible, the department prefers to have a group of riders crossing at the same time, Mayra said.
"I think most of the people that usually call our office, they're pretty knowledgeable about the escort," he said.
To contact the Hancock Police Department for an escort, call 482-3102. To contact the Houghton Police Department, call 482-2121.