Online tool helps public track progress on bridge repairs, construction

Noelle Gray
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Transportation has a new tool to enable the public to track progress on local bridge repair projects.

The new online dashboard, at michigan.gov/BridgeBundling, will display how close a bridge is to completion by percentage, updates, detour routes and other information for the 19 bridges MDOT is repairing or constructing.

MDOT expects bridge bundling, which covers several bridge locations under one contract, to streamline coordination and permitting, increase economies of scale and improve bridge conditions on local routes around the state. 

Bridge tracker through MDOT.

''The scope of work for these bridges is superstructure replacement, which includes full removal and replacement of the bridge deck and supporting beams," said MDOT Chief Bridge Engineer Matt Chynoweth. "Under the pilot program, three bridges will be rebuilt this year, beginning in August. The contract requirements call for them to be finished in 60 or 90 days.''

Those three: 

  • Byron Road bridge in Ottawa County (90 days, August-November)
  • Bentley Street bridge in the city of Lapeer (60 days, September-November)
  • East Washington Street bridge in the city of Jackson (60 days, September-November).

The remaining 16 bridges are scheduled for improvements in 2022 and 2023, and will be closed and detoured by local agencies. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration awarded MDOT nearly $978,000 to further its bridge bundling efforts on local agency routes, developing a framework for expanding the program. 

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 all local agency-owned bridges.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is seeking $300 million in a Fiscal Year 2021 supplemental budget request for the proposed next phase of the bridge bundling program. With this funding, MDOT anticipates the state could rebuild about another 130 bridges, addressing all currently closed local agency bridges and prioritizing repairs on local agency bridges in serious or critical condition.