Fort Gratiot is dreading the closure of 24th Avenue for a spring bridge project.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning to replace the bridge over the Howe Drain, which is in front of the mall containing TJ Maxx, between Krafft Road and Heritage Drive.

Officials have said the work — expected to cost about $350,000 — will close the road between Keewadhin and Krafft roads for about 16 days.

Businesses, residents and officials fear what the resulting detours will mean for their stores and their neighborhoods.

“We understand the concerns of all the businesses in the area. This, of course, is a main business corridor in the county,” said Erik Tamlyn, an MDOT project manager. “… I understand all the businesses that are located in the area and how critical this detour’s going to be.”

Tamlyn talked to members of the Fort Gratiot Business Association during an event Tuesday morning.

 He said the state found issues with exposed steel in part of the bridge’s structure, and two of its 29 box beams need to be replaced.

Bids for the work go out in late October, Tamlyn said, and work is aimed to begin in early May to repair and repave the structure.