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Another MDOT bridge bundling project reopens: Tallman Road bridge in Clinton County

Fast facts:

  • The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot project moved forward as the Tallman Road bridge in Clinton County reopened to traffic Friday.
  • The pilot encompasses major improvements on 19 locally owned bridges in 2022.
  • MDOT's online dashboard at Michigan.gov/BridgeBundling allows the public to track progress on the projects.

LANSING, Mich. ­– The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot project continues to move forward, with a Clinton County bridge reopening to traffic Friday, Sept. 2.

The Tallman Road bridge over Maple River northwest of Lansing reopened Friday after major repair work to replace its superstructure. The bridge, built in 1969, was in serious condition before the repairs.

Mark Trotter, the director of engineering for the Clinton County Road Commission, said the completion of this job was timely.

“Opening the Tallman Road bridge on schedule and in time to accommodate fall agricultural harvest traffic is a significant benefit to the local farms and communities in both Clinton and Gratiot counties,” Trotter said. “The Village of Maple Rapids will be especially happy to see the bridge open. With the nearest bridge crossing being in the residential area of the village, they accommodated a large volume of detour traffic throughout the summer.”

Trotter said the design-build approach used by the MDOT bridge bundling team has worked well, providing benefits for managing costs, schedules, and constructability issues.

“The statewide bundle program is a great model and has potential to be scaled down to the local level,” he said.

Trotter pointed to the program’s use of an ombudsman as a single point of contact for any questions, concerns and comments as a particular benefit. 

“Steve Ellens (from consultant RS&H) did a great job filtering through questions from the road commission, residents, motorists, local officials… passing them along to the appropriate team members and following up with responses in a timely manner,” Trotter said. “Road commission staff typically take on these responsibilities, along with juggling multiple other project tasks. Having one person dedicated to handling these issues was great.”

Thirteen local agency bridge bundling projects are now largely finished, with work on six others ongoing.

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.

All of the bridges encompassed by the bridge bundling pilot project will be completed within 60 or 90 days from the start of repairs.

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.

An online dashboard at Michigan.gov/BridgeBundling provides project updates and shows percent completion, detour routes, and other information for each project.

The pilot program is only the first phase of the bridge bundling initiative. $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 planning and development 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.

Workers rebuild the backwall of the Tallman Road bridge over Maple River in Clinton County earlier this summer. The bridge was in serious condition before being repaired as part of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot project. The pilot encompasses major improvements to 19 locally owned bridges in 2022.  (Photo courtesy of RS&H)

Workers rebuild the backwall of the Tallman Road bridge over Maple River in Clinton County earlier this summer.
The bridge was in serious condition before being repaired as part of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
bridge bundling pilot project. The pilot encompasses major improvements to 19 locally owned bridges in 2022.
(Photo courtesy of RS&H)