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Changes coming to Charlevoix bascule bridge signals

GAYLORD, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be changing the signals on both ends of the US-31 Charlevoix bascule bridge to flash amber rather than display steady green when the bridge is open to vehicular traffic to alert drivers to proceed with caution.

Currently, overhead signals at the south and north ends of the bridge are green when the bridge is in the down position and open for vehicle traffic, and red when the bridge is up with vehicle traffic stopped. Starting Monday, Sept. 12, the signal will flash amber when the bridge is down and display steady red when it is up.

"This is a simple change we can make immediately to help better alert drivers that pedestrians may be crossing the road at either end of the bridge and that they should proceed with caution," said Garrett Dawe, MDOT’s North Region operations engineer. "In the future we will be looking at options for further signal modifications to provide further clarity for drivers and pedestrians while maintaining the signal's primary purpose of traffic control for the bascule bridge."

Pedestrians can also use the paths beneath the bridge to cross US-31, an unsignalized mid-block crossing at Van Pelt Alley, or the signalized crossing at Clinton Street.

"Drivers and pedestrians both have a responsibility for safety at crosswalks," Dawe said. "While drivers need to yield for pedestrians already in the roadway within a crosswalk, pedestrians must make sure they have a safe gap in traffic before stepping into the road."

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