HOUGHTON - Michigan Department of Transportation officials revealed details of upcoming regional projects during a public meeting Monday at the Houghton City Center.
This spring, M-DOT will be repaving M-26 through Ripley, between the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and Dollar Bay, a major project that will require many short delays. Over the winter, crews will be beginning major upgrades to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which will require two 10-hour closures as well as many shorter ones, all of which are scheduled to occur at night.
2016 will bring the most disruptive project, when crews will completely rebuild US-41 through downtown Hancock, from the lift bridge all the way down Quincy Street to the corner of Quincy and S. Lincoln Drive, across from Gino's Restaurant.
Dan Roblee/Daily Mining Gazette
Traffic flows smoothly across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge Monday. Beginning in December, a $5.5 million maintenance project will cause delays and lane closures over a period of more than a year.
There will be a pair of 2015 projects in Ontonagon county: the repaving of a portion of US-45 and the replacement of an outdated bridge over the Silver River. In 2018, 3.2 miles of US-41 between Chassell and Baraga will be repaved over a period of two to two and a half months.
The Hancock project will be done a block or two at a time, said Andrew Sikkema, MDOT's Ishpeming Transportation Service Center manager. He said MDOT would be working with the city of Hancock to coordinate replacing water and sewer lines.
"We'll have to close blocks off, but there'll be access from both ends," he said. "We'll model it after what we did in Houghton years back," he added, referring to when Shelden Ave. in Houghton was rebuilt in the early 2000s.
Sikkema said the project was scheduled to begin in May 2016, and would probably be completed that October.
The $5.5-million lift bridge project will begin this December and continue through Spring 2016. It will include replacing all 84 of the bridge's lift cables, rehabilitating its balance chain, upgrading electrical and mechanical systems, improving security systems, and adding new warning and barrier gates.
Motorists who stopped as directed would never notice the new barriers, Sikkema said, but they "would keep someone who went past the gate from actually driving off."
The bridge project will require numerous closures, including two 10-hour closures and 16 3-hour closures, all of which will be scheduled at night and widely publicized, Sikkema said. There will also be as many as 200 15- to 20-minute closures, some of which will be during the daytime. Traffic will also be reduced to one lane in each direction during much of the project.
Sikkema said the lift bridge would be in its normal (down) position during all of the work, so there was little chance of it getting stuck in an open position and prolonging delays. Workers handling the few tasks taking place with the bridge jacked open were specialists and would be using "standard techniques," he said.
"They're pretty confident with that," he added.
MDOT Communications Representative Dan Weingarten added that there would be ramps in place even when the bridge was up on jacks, to allow emergency vehicles to cross the bridge if necessary. Most closures, he said, would be when heavy equipment was being hauled above traffic lanes and when cables were being hooked and unhooked, and wouldn't actually block traffic lanes.
This summer's M-26 project between the lift bridge and Dollar Bay, planned to cost a total of $6.7 million, will be getting underway as soon as weather permits. Numerous delays for drivers are expected, though Sikkema said they're planned to be no longer than about 10 minutes. He said many area residents will probably avoid the project by detouring to US-41.
Sikkema said the westernmost portion of the project, from Pewabic Road to Military Road, would be a total reconstruction, with the road widened to three lanes including a center turn lane. Curves will also be straightened along that portion, and new curbs and storm sewers would be constructed.
A new style of curbs would be used, Sikkema said. "The first four feet of the shoulder will be flat paved (for bikers), and the second four feet will be behind the curb and separated from traffic."
The portion of road from Military Road to Sixth Street in Dollar Bay will receive a basic resurfacing, he said.