Melting snow and warmer weather signals the sign of a new, familiar season in Michigan; construction season.
In Zeeland Township, drivers have to navigate around a section of Byron Road where crews have begun a full replacement of the bridge that helps cars cross the Macatawa River.
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The bridge, now removed, was one of more than 1000 in Michigan listed in poor condition. In their last report, The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan’s bridges a “C-“ grade.
“We have over 10% of our bridges that are structurally deficient at this moment in our state and that’s throughout the entire state that’s everywhere, in every corner of the state, we have bridges that need to be worked on and maintained,” says Lance Binoniemi, VP of Government Affairs at the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Agency.”
The Ottawa County bridge is the first to be reconstructed under the state’s new pilot program, aimed at making construction of locally-owned bridges more efficient and cost-effective, by putting a number of bridge locations under one contract .
19 bridges are part of the initial round, set to be rebuilt by the end of the year:
Clinton County: Herbison Road (March 1, 90 days), Tallman Road (April 15, 90 days)
Eaton County: Five Point Highway (June 15, 60 days)
Hillsdale County: Squawfield Road (June 15, 60 days)
Ingham County: Linn Road (April 15, 60 days), Dennis Road (June 14, 60 days)
Lenawee County: Sand Creek Highway (Aug. 15, 90 days)
Lapeer County: Bentley Street (March 1, 60 days)
Livingston County: Mason Road (May 2, 60 days),
Iosco Road (May 6, 60 days)
Luce County: Dollarville Road (Aug. 15, 60 days) J
Jackson County: E. Washington Street (March 1, 60 days)
Macomb County: 33 Mile Road (March 10, 60 days), 31 Mile Road (March 16, 60 days), 26 Mile Road (April 15, 90 days)
Muskegon County: Maple Island Road (June 15, 60 days)
Ottawa County: Byron Road (March 1, 90 days)
St. Clair County: Palms Road (March 22, 90 days)
St. Joseph County: Nottawa Road (Aug. 15, 90 days)
“The money in the investment that we’re making part of the bridge bundle program that the governor’s promoting, will go a long way in a short period of time of, of investing a lot of money into our bridges, which are, you know, designed to last over 30 years,” Binoniemi explained.
“We have fixed over 900 bridges across the state of Michigan and we got a lot more work to do,” says Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who’s also calling for record investment in bridge and road construction spending next year.
MDOT estimates $2 billion is required just to get all state-owned bridges up to good or fair condition, and another $1.5 billion to do the same for locally-owned ones.
This article originally appeared in FOX 17. For more, click here.