Sixteen bridges in Genesee County to receive improvements under Whitmer plan

The Grand Blanc Road bridge over U.S.23 is just one of several improvement projects planned for 16 bridges along the I-75/US-23 corridor in Genesee County. Photo by Gary Gould

The Grand Blanc Road bridge over U.S.23 is just one of several improvement projects planned for 16 bridges along the I-75/US-23 corridor in Genesee County. Photo by Gary Gould

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday the first 21 state highway projects starting throughout the state as part of the 2021 Michigan Department of Transportation construction season.

These projects are a blend of those previously funded through the department’s budget, as well as several supported by the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.

Among the projects announced were significant improvements to 16 bridges along the I-75/US-23 corridor in Genesee County, including steel beam repairs, deck replacements and protective epoxy coating.

On March 16, crews began steel repairs on the I-75 bridge over Court Street. This work required shoulder closures on I-75 and part-width work on Court Street using a temporary signal to maintain traffic. This configuration is expected in place through the end of March.

On March 22, crews closed the northbound I-75 ramp to westbound I-69 for bridge repairs. This ramp closure is expected in place through May. In April, drivers can expect a daytime single-lane closure on I-75 at the ramp, and double-lane closures on I-75 during some overnight hours to accommodate steel repairs.

On April 5, crews will start rebuilding the Maple Road bridge over southbound I-75. Maple Road will be closed and detoured. Southbound I-75 will be closed during overnight hours for bridge removal, setting of new steel bridge beams, and deck pours. These closures will be announced in advance of their start.

Additional improvements will be completed on the following U.S.- 23 bridges with traffic impacts announced prior to their start: Hill Road over US-23, US-23 over Swartz Creek, Grand Blanc Road over US-23, Torrey Road over US-23, Baldwin Road over US-23, Thompson Road over US-23, Lahring Road over US-23, US-23 over the Shiawassee River, US-23 over Silver Lake Road and Owen Road over US-23

This $12.3 million investment extends the service life of these structures, said a statement from Whitmer’s office.

“This is all about keeping Michigan drivers safe on the road,” said Whitmer. “By taking action now through the Rebuilding Michigan plan, we can start fixing state roads immediately and save money in the long run by cutting down the need for more costly repairs later. The Rebuilding Michigan plan is financed without an increase at the gas pump, and it’ll help jumpstart our economy by creating thousands of good-paying construction jobs. As we get into the spring and summer, you will see more work going on as we move quickly to make up for decades of under investment in infrastructure. Let’s get to work and let’s get it done.”

The governor’s Rebuilding Michigan program is focused on rebuilding the state highways and bridges that are critical to the state’s economy and carry the most traffic. The investment strategy is aimed at fixes that result in longer useful lives and improves the condition of the state’s infrastructure.

“Michigan has needed real, sustained investment in our roads and bridges – and the jobs that investment creates – for far too long,” said Operating Engineers 324 Business Manager Douglas Stockwell. “Governor Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan plan finally addresses this issue, and puts our highly skilled, safety-trained members to work doing what we do best: fixing the roads and bridges to keep Michigan running. Good roads benefit communities and good jobs stimulate the economy. This investment creates both. The men and women of Operating Engineers 324 will continue to answer the call.”

Dozens of other road and bridge rebuilding projects are planned for the 2021 construction season through the traditional federal and state funding sources, as well as the Rebuilding Michigan bonding program.

“MDOT’s 2021 program includes rebuilding and resurfacing roughly 920 lane miles of state highways and freeways and performing preventative maintenance on another 830 lane miles throughout Michigan,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Our department is working quickly to turn the additional funding we’ve been entrusted with into better, safer roads and bridges that support our economy and thousands of jobs.”

As Whitmer requested, the State Transportation Commission (STC) in January 2020 authorized MDOT to issue $3.5 billion in bonds over four years to finance infrastructure improvements, under authority granted by the Michigan Constitution and Public Act 51 of 1951. Funding raised through bond sales will finance 49 new projects throughout the state and frees up funding already dedicated to those project for roughly 120 other projects, expanding the scope of that work or advancing project schedules. — G.G.