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Major detour starts Feb. 1 for Bagley Street bridge rebuild

ALPENA — The Bagley Street Bridge was designed to handle traffic and pedestrian trends of the time it was built in 1976.

Beginning Feb.1, the bridge will be closed and reconstructed to meet the needs of today and the future, Alpena County Road Commission Managing Director Ryan Brege said.

The bridge is expected to be closed until late December for the $10.3 million project. Funding for the project includes money from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the federal government, and a Road Commission match.

Brege described the bridge as functionally obsolete, requiring large amounts of work. He said the bridge fit the needs of the community for many years, but, when it was built, the M-32 corridor had little to no development and Bagley Street was rarely used.

Over time, Brege said, that has changed, and the bridge is not adequate by today’s standards.

“It was built for the needs of that time, so, ultimately, where we stand with it now, with Bagley Street being so important, it needs serious maintenance,” Brege said. “We are essentially doubling the width of the bridge, and it will be more user-friendly for motorists and pedestrians.”

Brege said the work will consist of removing the existing structure and replacing it with a structure that includes non-motorized sidewalks and lighting.

Today, an average of 15,000 vehicles a day cross over the bridge. Traffic counts from the 1970s were much lower, “not even in the same ballpark,” Brege said.

The project will force a large detour for motorists around Bagley, which will be closed from the Road Commission driveway, just north of the Wolverine State Credit Union, north to the Word of Life Baptist Church.

Access to Burkholder Drive will be maintained.

The detour will mean more traffic on city roads. Brege said the city has supported the project and worked with the county to make sure the temporary route is convenient for motorists.

“Everyone from the city and MDOT has been great and willing to help us,” Brege said.

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