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M-55 Cooley Bridge work wrapping up, detour to be lifted Thursday

December 11, 2019 -- Work to repaint the extensive structural steel components of the Cooley Bridge over the Pine River should be complete Thursday, allowing for the removal of a detour that has rerouted M-55 traffic since this spring.

Crews from contractor CA Hull are currently finishing up touch-up painting on the bridge before removing the last necessary equipment. Originally scheduled for completion in early November, the project primarily was delayed by poor weather.

"We appreciate commuters' and residents' patience during two seasons of work - and detours - while we completed this project," said Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Traverse City Transportation Service Center (TSC) Manager Rick Liptak. "The work we did this year will help ensure that Cooley Bridge is protected from the elements for many years to come."

Inspectors have identified some additional structural steel work uncovered during this year's blasting and painting project that will need to be completed later; those repairs were not deemed critical. Scheduling that work during warmer months will improve safety for workers and result in a better repair.

"It's important to note that, while this additional work was identified, our engineers have determined the bridge is safe for all loads," Liptak added. "If we were concerned about the safety of the bridge at any time, we would close it immediately until repairs could be made."

MDOT invested $4.9 million for work this year, including resurfacing the bridge deck, repairing the bridge's concrete substructure, upgrading steel components, cleaning and coating the structural steel, sealing concrete components, and upgrading the bridge approaches. In 2018, MDOT performed some initial structural steel repair and partial painting, which also required detouring M-55 traffic.

This work has required a detour of highway traffic on local roads: Snyder Road, Hoxeyville Road, 48 1/2 Road, and M-37.