December 19, 2014

Omer bridge work for 2014 starts to take shape

Posted

OMER — The US-23 bridge over the Rifle River will be shut down in 2014 while it is repaired, contrary to initial plans to keep a lane open each way.

Councilman Larry Daly said he had received an update on the bridge repair plans and the Michigan Department of Transportation now intends to shut down the bridge entirely, and shift traffic to a temporary bridge to the south during the course of the work. In February, MDOT manager Jack Hofweber told the Independent the plan was to keep a lane open each way.

“They will put in a temporary bridge south of that one, and will tear off all four lanes and do it at once,” he said.

Daly reported during the April 23 city council meeting that the bridge deck is going to be torn up all the way down to the bolts and replaced with a fresh deck, and the bridge guardrail will also be replaced. However, those are the only real changes expected at this point due to cost.

“They will be taking the top of the bridge off, but they won’t be milling US-23 on either side of the bridge,” Daly said. “It would cost $897,000 to do milling and a new overlay (on US-23) from city limit to city limit.”

He said US-23 is in poor condition and the council was not sure it could handle another tough winter without falling apart, something he did not believe MDOT appreciated before officials brought it up. He acknowledged the large amount of money necessary to get the road back in shape, but was told that if additional funding came along the council would be in the loop.

The sidewalk on the edges of the bridge will not be widened, Daly said, as he was told it would require another I-beam on the bridge to support it, which would also cause the cost to jump up.

In other city council news, the council approved moving $23,000 from the general fund to the local streets fund to blacktop South Michigan Avenue. The money will be repaid to the general fund from the local streets millage over the next two and a half years.

“It should be a lot quicker than blacktopping North Michigan, and a lot cheaper too,” Treasurer Joan Steward said.

The process of repairing South Michigan began last May, when the council voted to pulverize and reshape the road for $6,450. Since the city did not have the funds available to pave it in the same year, officials decided to hold off until 2013.

Daly said at the time that South Michigan, along with Wall Street, were in too poor of shape to simply patch and reseal, and would need to be repaved.

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