ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Due to weather conditions, work on the Michigan Department of Transportation US-2 Escanaba River Bridge project has been suspended for the season, MDOT announced Monday morning.
The new bridge span has not been completed; one lane will be open in each direction on the finished portion of the new span again this winter. MDOT had planned to open all lanes of traffic over the bridge by the end of November but frozen ground has prevented necessary paving from proceeding. The bridge project faced delays due to a labor dispute earlier this year.
"We're very disappointed that we won't be able to open all lanes of traffic as we had planned," said MDOT construction engineer Steve Cadeau, the project manager. "The decision was made to maximize public safety, maintain a quality project, and ensure taxpayer funds are being spent wisely. We're asking for everyone's patience during the winter and we'll work to get the project finished as quickly as we can next year."
Traffic at the bridge will be maintained in the same configuration as last winter. Vehicles in the construction zone will be restricted to 12 feet in width; over-width loads will continue to be prohibited. Drivers with oversized loads should contact the Delta County Road Commission (DCRC) at 906-786-3200 Monday through Thursday to determine the most appropriate route.
MDOT is working closely with the DCRC to implement a strategic winter maintenance plan to respond to winter events and maintain the safest possible work zone. Traffic control devices will be cleaned and maintained during the winter and an on-call wrecker service will be standing by to clear any traffic incidents.
Lead-in work is expected to resume on the bridge in May 2019, weather permitting, with paving scheduled to begin June 1. The project is expected to be completed in early July.
MDOT is spending $20.5 million to replace both the US-2 bridge over the Escanaba River and the Escanaba and Lake Superior (E&LS) Railroad bridge over US-2.