Bridge closure coming in November

Courtesy photo Construction work continues on the U.S. 2 and 41 bridge over the Escanaba River, as shown in a photo provided by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). MDOT plans to briefly close the bridge to traffic later this month.

WELLS — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to briefly close the U.S. 2 and 41 bridge over the Escanaba River to traffic later this month.

“We’re looking at a (12) hour closure and detour,” MDOT Communications Representative for the Superior Region Dan Weingarten said.

The closure will allow for the continuous placement of concrete for the bridge’s westbound span, which is currently under construction. While this closure was not part of the original schedule for the bridge project, Weingarten said that it will have a positive effect on the project’s overall progress.

“It should save approximately four days of construction time,” he said. Initially, the schedule had called for concrete to be placed on two separate days with cure time alloted between work.

During the closure period, eastbound traffic will be detoured from U.S. 2 via County Roads 426, 420, and 531 and onto M-35 before returning to U.S. 2. This route will be reversed for westbound traffic.

“It’s (going to) be the same detour as previously,” Weingarten said.

In the interest of reducing conflicts on the detour route, County Road 420 will be closed to through traffic at the east leg of the intersection with County Road 531. Additionally, Rivers 22nd Road will be closed to westbound traffic between County Road 531 and M-35.

Weingarten said due to the public’s familiarity with this detour route, MDOT is not expecting any large back-ups to interfere with people’s travel plans.

“We’re not anticipating any major problems,” he said. However, he noted motorists should still plan for some delays along the route.

Other work scheduled to take place on the bridge in the near future includes the paving of Dam Road and the gravel grade from the south end of the new bridge span to County Road 426.

“(That’s) being prepared for paving,” Weingarten said.

Next month, MDOT plans to move traffic on the Escanaba River bridge to the bridge’s westbound span.

“Currently, we plan to open the new deck to traffic on Dec. 9,” Weingarten said. Once this is done, the removal of the old bridge deck will begin and new causeways will be installed on the downstream side of the bridge.

Weingarten thanked the community for continuing to deal with the effects of this construction.

“We appreciate everybody’s patience with this ongoing project,” he said.