BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The 100th Street bridge over US-131 that gained notoriety after being hit around a dozen times last year will be replaced in 2020.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has scheduled the $10.5 million project to start in April and continue through September.
The bridge south of Grand Rapids will be closed entirely during construction but workers plan to minimize the impact to US-131 keeping some lanes open for the majority of the project. During times when 131 is closed entirely, traffic will be routed off the highway and back on at 100th Street.
The new bridge will be wider, with four travel lanes including a dedicated turn lane.
MDOT officials say the bridge is built with future growth expected for the area in mind.
“With this new bridge, we’re going to have increased capacity on the bridge,” David Kent, a civil engineer for MDOT, told News 8 Tuesday. “Traffic flow should be a lot better through this intersection.”
MDOT officials remain baffled at the series of incidents in which the tops of semi-trucks hit the bridge deck in 2018. Though no one was ever hurt, some of the bridge’s hardware had to be replaced following the accidents. As a temporary fix, MDOT officials lowered the road beneath the bridge.
The bridge was already slated to be replaced before to last year but the project was several years down the road. After the accidents, MDOT moved their plans to repair the bridge to 2020.
The new bridge will be higher by almost two feet, rising from 14 feet, 6 inches to 16 feet, 3 inches.
“We have not seen a lot of hits on bridges built to this standard,” Kent said.
Byron Township Supervisor Tom Hooker said businesses impacted by the closure have been involved in the plans. He said they are supportive of the repairs.
“You’ve got a lot of trucking firms. You’ve got the South Kent Landfill, you have the Plummer’s Environmental … everybody right there,” Hooker said. “We want to keep that impact as low as we possibly can.”
While the bridge will be replaced, the stories about the old one surely won’t be. Hooker said it will be a part of township lore.
“It’ll be in our history for a long time,” Hooker said.