MDOT after 100th Street bridge hit: ‘We had a good run’

Kent County
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BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s happened again: The 100th Street bridge over US-131 has been hit.

Michigan State Police say the incident happened around 11 a.m. Monday.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman John Richard said a modular home traveling in the northbound right lane of US-131 hit the overpass. The impact scratched paint on the bridge beams, but there was no additional damage and no injuries.

The crash briefly shut down the right lane, but it has since reopened.

Richard said the driver told police he hadn’t measured the load height. Michigan State Police said their measurements put the load at 14 feet 6 inches — about six inches higher than the bridge deck.

Richard says anyone hauling a load higher than 13.5 feet must obtain a permit, so the driver was either off route with a permit or didn’t have a permit at all. The driver was ticketed for the incident.

Richard says this is the first time the overpass has been hit since Michigan State Police beefed up patrols near the span in June, in hopes of curbing the incident.

“We had a good run,” Richard told 24 Hour News 8.

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The low-hanging bridge has been hit about a dozen times since the start of the year. It’s not entirely clear why there’s been an uptick in deck strikes, although the most popular explanation is that there are more inexperienced truckers on the roads and they aren’t checking their load heights or the heights of bridges along their routes.

Richard said the 100th Street bridge was built in 1957 and met all the state rules and regulations for deck height. He said there are 60 other MDOT bridges in the state that are as high or lower than this overpass.

MDOT plans to shave off some of the pavement on US-131 under the bridge beginning next month, which should give drivers a couple inches more clearance.

MDOT is also working to fund a $10 million upgrade to the overpass, which would include raising the bridge clearance from about 14 feet to 16 feet and 3 inches.  If all goes according to plan, the new bridge would go up in 2020.

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