Night work scheduled at Portage Lake Lift Bridge

Contact: Dan Weingarten, MDOT Office of Communications, 906-250-4809
Agency: Transportation

July 29, 2021 -- Contractors for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be working at night over the next few weeks as part of ongoing repair work on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge between Houghton and Hancock.

Night work from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. started this week and is expected to continue at least through the week of Aug. 9. Some of the necessary work requires the bridge to be in its lower position. A night schedule allows crews to do this work when traffic is lighter.

During this period, work will also be performed during the day, both above and below the bridge deck. MDOT plans to keep the bridge at its intermediate position during the day. Lane closures currently in place will remain. One lane is open in each direction on the bridge.

"Since the work requires lanes to be closed, bridge lifts can cause longer-than-normal backups," explained Rob Tervo, manager of the Ishpeming Transportation Service Center. "We want to do everything we can to minimize delays. Keeping the bridge at the intermediate level during the day means the bridge will only be required to move for taller boats, like the Isle Royale Ranger or sail boats."

Over-height vehicles and loads (on the lower deck) have been restricted. They will not be allowed between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Load widths on the lower deck have also been further restricted to 10 feet since bridge work has reduced the available space.

MDOT is investing about $3.9 million in structural, mechanical, and electrical improvements on the bridge. Work includes motor replacement, finger joint repairs, structural steel repairs, interior painting of the machine rooms in the bridge towers, and other miscellaneous repairs and upgrades. Work started in November 2020 and is expected to be completed by March 2022.