M-203 opens to thru traffic

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The temporary M-203 bridge over Swedetown Creek was completed Thursday, which opens the major arterial, if only with one lane.

HANCOCK — The temporary M-203 bridge over Swedetown Creek was completed Thursday afternoon, opening the road to traffic.

After the previous bridge washed out during the flash flood on June 17, local residents had to travel miles out of their way to get home.

The approximately $392,000 temporary measure is located adjacent to where the permanent bridge will be installed, allowing traffic and construction to take place simultaneously.

“The temporary bridge is offset from the former bridge site, so we will be able to build that structure while maintaining traffic,” said Dan Weingarten from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Office of Communications.

The temporary bridge is a one-lane structure with traffic lights alternating traffic flow.

The permanent replacement bridge is targeted to be complete before the end of the 2018 construction season. Dates and prices have not been set yet. MDOT is still working on the contract which will then go out for bids.

“We are moving forward aggressively to get that in place,” Weingarten said.

The new structure will be a 36’x10′, three-sided concrete culvert. The former bridge was a 20-foot wide concrete structure, he explained.

“The idea with any of these replacements will be to build them up to modern standards based on our hydraulic engineer’s estimates at how much water realistically can be expected to go through there so it will be equal to or better than what was there before,” he said.

Traffic will be slow through that section of M-203, with the one-lane bridge and additional repairs to the road north of the bridge.

The work includes repairs on paving where portions of the slope on the sides of the road failed causing pavement settling, Weingarten said.

“People may run into flag control north of the temporary bridge. They should be aware of that,” he said.

Other ongoing MDOT work includes repairs and culvert cleaning on M-26 from Ripley to Lake Linden and replacement of a culvert on U.S. 41 near Superior Rental, which is now in the design process.

“We’re really asking everybody to be as patient as possible,” Weingarten said.