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Local roads open following replacement of two railroad bridges in Jackson

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has completed final work related to replacing two century-old railroad bridges over Jackson and Mechanic streets in the city of Jackson. Following the completion of this major project, Jackson, Mechanic, Detroit, and Van Buren streets have all reopened to traffic. 

"We appreciate the patience of Jackson citizens and businesses enduring through this construction process for the last two years," said Jason Fossitt, P.E., construction engineer with the MDOT Jackson Transportation Service Center. "These new bridges look much better and will be safer for trains travelling along this important rail corridor." 

Owned by MDOT and replaced last August, these bridges are along the Michigan Line federally designated high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac that are used by Amtrak and Norfolk Southern Railroad trains. The project included rebuilding the Blackstone Road grade crossing and approaches, replacing approximately 1,300 feet of railroad corridor retaining walls, rebuilding and lifting approximately 4,000 feet of railroad track, and adding a nonmotorized pathway under the Mechanic Street railroad bridge.

"The completion of the MDOT railroad bridge replacement project has added to the city of Jackson's downtown revitalization and beautification in a tremendous way," City of Jackson Mayor Daniel J. Mahoney said. "Those bridges are what connects our north side of town to our downtown and eases the flow of traffic on our major streets. The icing on the cake is that a piece of the old bridge was able to be salvaged and will be displayed forever as a piece of artwork for all to see."

"The City of Jackson is very pleased to see these streets back open and thankful for this big investment in our infrastructure from MDOT," Jackson City Manager Jonathan Greene said. "Not only is it great to have these new bridges in place, but the decorative walls and increased pedestrian access add a lot to the experience of visiting downtown Jackson."

The Jackson Street bridge was raised to provide the standard 14 feet, 6 inches of clearance; however, the Mechanic Street clearance remains only 10 feet, 7 inches. Raising that structure was not possible due to nearby engineering constraints caused by a railroad bridge over the Grand River, a connection to another railroad, and other railroad grade crossings. Motorists with high-profile vehicles should know their load or vehicle and not proceed along Mechanic Street or they could strike sacrificial barriers before the bridge. Low clearance warning signs also are posted in the area.

The total cost for the project was $33 million. Timelapse videos on MDOT's YouTube channel show the replacement of the Jackson and Mechanic street railroad bridges.

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