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First bridge in bundling project open to traffic

LANSING, Mich. - The Bentley Street bridge over Farmers Creek in Lapeer opened April 29, the first bridge to be repaired under the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot project.

"We're very happy with the bridge," said Jeff Graham, Lapeer's director of public works, whose office is on Bentley Street. "I drove across it every day before it was closed for repairs, and it looks great now compared to what it did before."

Graham said the project moved along quickly once it started and the contractors met their timelines efficiently. Overall, he’s enthusiastic about the program going forward.

"MDOT was great to work with. We would love to have the opportunity to have more bridges done and participate in future programs," Graham said.

Major repairs on several other local agency bridges continue this month as the pilot project moves forward. Six bridge bundling projects started in March and April. All of the bridges encompassed by the program will be completed and reopened to traffic within 60 or 90 days from the start of repairs. The five ongoing projects currently range from 14 to 82 percent complete.

Repairs on the Mason Road bridge over the south branch of the Shiawassee River in Livingston County are scheduled to begin May 31.

This year's bridge bundling pilot project, the first of its kind in Michigan, is repairing 19 bridges in serious or critical condition that are owned by local agencies. Each bridge will have its superstructure replaced, which includes full removal and replacement of the bridge deck and supporting beams.

The pilot project is funded by Federal Highway Improvement Program (HIP) dollars. MDOT bridge staff and consultants are doing preliminary design and construction administration work for the bridge bundling program.

The program’s online dashboard at Michigan.gov/BridgeBundling provides project updates and shows percent completion, detour routes, and other information for each of these projects. 

$196 million in federal COVID relief funds appropriated by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature will allow the state to execute Phase II of the bridge bundling program, beginning later this year, to address 59 more bridges. 

A list of the Phase II bridges, which were prioritized based on regional mobility and safety, is available here. Phase II focuses on closed and load-posted bridges. Some will be permanently removed while others will be fully replaced.

MDOT expects bridge bundling, which covers several bridge locations under one contract, to streamline coordination and permitting, increase economies of scale, and improve bridge conditions on local routes around the state. MDOT is working to expand the approach, already in use on state trunkline projects, to address locally owned bridges.

The remaining 12 bridges to be rebuilt this year under the pilot project, along with scheduled start dates and contracted length of the project, are:

Clinton County: Tallman Road (June 1, 90 days)
Macomb County: 26 Mile Road (July 25, 90 days)
Eaton County: Five Point Highway (June 15, 60 days)
Hillsdale County: Squawfield Road (June 15, 60 days)
St. Clair County: Palms Road (June 8, 90 days)
Ingham County: Linn Road (June 20, 60 days), Dennis Road (July 5, 60 days)
Lenawee County: Sand Creek Highway (Aug. 1, 90 days)
Livingston County: Iosco Road (Aug. 15, 60 days)
Luce County: Dollarville Road (Aug. 1, 60 days)
Muskegon County: Maple Island Road (June 15, 60 days)
St. Joseph County: Nottawa Road (August 15, 90 days)

Bentley Street bridge in Lapeer

The Bentley Street bridge in Lapeer opened to traffic April 29. The bridge is the first structure repaired under the MDOT bridge bundling pilot program. Nineteen locally owned bridge repair jobs are included in the pilot program this year. (Photo by OHM Engineers)