Charlevoix Businesses React To Bridge Repairs

Construction on this Northern Michigan bridge is set to start in December.

MDOT hosted a meeting to go over last minute questions about repairs and upgrades to the U.S. 31 Bascule Bridge over Pine River in Charlevoix.

The nearly 2 million dollar project includes substructure, steel repairs, along with electrical and mechanical updates.

But in March, a 67 mile detour will be set up for 12 consecutive nights, causing headaches for drivers.

"I’m not driving an hour and a half out of my way to drive 3 miles to get to work. I live just on the other side of the bridge and it was a big concern," said Doug Jones.

Supervisors at Harbor Industries, including Doug Jones, spent the last eight months coming up with a solution for what their overnight crew would do to avoid an hour and a half detour.

"We basically work from 5 P.M. to 3:30 in the morning. With the bridge being closed we are going to switch our shift around to start at 7 and get out at 5 in the morning so we will miss the closure of the bridge," Doug said.

MDOT says they worked with the community to minimize the impact on drivers. At the meeting the biggest concern was when the main detour will happen.

"That is what effects people the most. That’s a 67 mile detour around the bridge in the upright position. Luckily that’s only from 11 P.M. to 5 A.M. on those nights in question," said Ben Gowell.

Other local business owners like Vi Keller aren’t worried, because 2 lane vehicle traffic will stay during the day. She’s happy that Charlevoix Emergency Services are also ready.

"The city has been doing what they can to help in making sure we have police and fire and some type of emergency vehicles on the north and south side of the bridge so if an emergency happens then we are taken care of," Vi said.

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