GLADWIN COUNTY – According to a press release issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), in early December, work began on a temporary M-30 bridge over the Tobacco River in Gladwin County following extensive damage to the corridor during May flooding. Totaling $4.3 million, the temporary bridge is expected to open to traffic in mid-February.
The Michigan Department of Transportation Facebook page has continued to provide regular updates on the project. According to their page, the construction project seems to be currently on track for their mid-February goal. In a Facebook comment, MDOT mentioned that the temporary bridge is expected to be in place for seven to 10 years.
MDOT stated that the bridge will be in place this long because they are unsure of permanent structure needs to replace the bridge that washed away. They also included that permanent bridge builds take years for design, approvals, identifying funding, and advertisement and bid letting timeframes. Without knowing what the water levels will look like and what the long-term transportation need will be, the timeframe for a permanent bridge would only become greater.
The temporary bridge will allow the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to have plenty of time to stabilize the existing dam for safety purposes and allow for an independent analysis of the causes of both the Edenville and Sanford dam collapses as well as future recommendations.
Without reestablishing mobility on M-30 with the temporary bridge, MDOT would end up cutting the M-30 corridor in half for up to a decade with no reasonable local detour routes to divert traffic.
While several bridges on both state and local roads suffered damage, the M-30 causeway bridge near Stryker’s Lakeside Marina was washed away following the Edenville dam breach. The flooding and subsequent dam failure led to damage of two M-30 bridges and the Curtis Road bridge, all within one mile of each other.
MDOT staff determined a temporary bridge structure was the best use of federal emergency aid and supported their mission of restoring mobility as quickly as possible.
“Reopening this second M-30 bridge is vital to our business,” said Edenville Market owner Gurbachan Singh. “We have really struggled to stay in business since the flood damage, and every bridge that reopens helps our business a little more.”
By immediately beginning the analysis and design work required for a temporary bridge, the M-30 corridor will be restored within nine months of the initial bridge loss. Standard bridge construction requires several years of design work and review to ensure the appropriate size structure is installed, meeting the transportation needs for the foreseeable future. Work to build this temporary bridge will also happen more quickly than normal since there is no existing structure to maintain traffic on.
MDOT used an expedited bid letting process to garner bids for the temporary bridge building. Work began in early December with the awarded contractor, Anlaan Corp., reviewing the site and mobilizing equipment. Temporary bridge components are being supplied by Acrow Bridge, a corporation specializing in prefabricated modular steel bridge solutions.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will be working concurrently to secure the existing Edenville Dam. This work is being completed to ensure future flooding does not place area residents and businesses in danger, and to address ongoing impacts on infrastructure and natural resources. This work will result in rapidly changing water levels and impact the stability of ice once winter recreation activities are in full swing. MDOT and EGLE request that the public refrain from all recreation activities while this work is ongoing.