Bridge closed next week in Escanaba

WELLS — The U.S. 2 and 41 bridge over the Escanaba River will once again be completely closed to traffic next week, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced.

This closure is expected to last from 9 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, Oct. 16, to 6 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 20.

According to a press release issued by MDOT, the closure will allow for the removal of the old railroad bridge. Crews will work at night during the closure period, potentially creating bright lights and noise, in order to expedite their work and minimize closure times.

During the closure period, eastbound traffic will be detoured from U.S. 2 via County Roads 426, 420, and 531 and onto M-35 before returning to U.S. 2 — the same detour route that was used during the previous bridge closure. This route will be reversed for westbound traffic.

In the interest of reducing conflicts on the detour route, County Road 420 will be closed to through traffic at the east leg of the intersection with County Road 531. Additionally, Rivers 22nd Road will be closed between County Road 531 and M-35, and law enforcement will be present at intersections along the detour route to improve traffic flow and reduce backups.

Despite these efforts, MDOT Communications Representative for the Superior Region Dan Weingarten said motorists should anticipate some delays during the closure period.

As parts of County Road 426 are closed to oversized loads, drivers carrying these loads are encouraged to call the Delta County Road Commission at 906-786-3200 Monday through Thursday to find an alternate route.

This will be the second of four planned closures of the Escanaba River bridge for this project. Dates for the third closure — the final one expected to take place in 2017 — will be announced soon. The fourth closure is expected to take place in the spring of 2018.

Weingarten said that, while these closures can be inconvenient, they are an unavoidable part of the bridge project.

“We regret any delays or backups, but please remember that the detour is necessary to continue to move construction on this important project forward,” he said.