By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
Summit Township business owners seem on board with the McDevitt (M-50) bridge replacement project after a pair of public meetings Tuesday.
Kelby Wallace of the Michigan Department of Transportation announced at the meetings that the project should start in early spring 2012 and be finished around August that year.
The new bridge will be wider, allowing it to accommodate a nonmotorized vehicle path that could be part of the Heart-of-the-Lakes recreation plan that is being supported by a First-Step Service Grant from surrounding communities.
Eastbound and westbound detour plans were revealed Tuesday, and Wallace said the local business community appeared to be satisfied with MDOT’s intent.
The eastbound detour will send traffic south to Floyd Avenue where a fully operating temporary traffic signal will enable drivers to make a “Michigan left” and get back on M-50 via a ramp.
Stephanie Palmer, a traffic and safety/operations engineer for MDOT, said a “maximum backup of around 200 feet or 10 cars” is possible around rush hour, based on a recent traffic volume analysis.
For safety purposes a divided road will be set up at this detour, meaning there will be no direct left turns from Floyd Avenue or Worthington Street.
The westbound detour will force traffic to turn right onto Brooklyn Road and then make a sharp U-turn to Oak Lane Road to get back on M-50.
Wallace said the new bridge should last 75 years or more. He said the project is important because the current foundation consists of shallow footings and existing soil conditions are unstable.