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MDOT contractor begins building temporary M-30 bridge over Tobacco River

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:05 PM EST
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GLADWIN COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Construction started this week to build a temporary bridge carrying M-30 traffic across the Tobacco River in Gladwin County.

The structure was washed away when the Edenville Dam failed in May. While the $4.3 million temporary bridge won’t be the final structure, building it is critical for the area.

“Because we don’t know what the long-term water is going to look like, we don’t know what the hydraulics will look like,” Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall said. “It makes it very hard to make a decision about a long-term bridge that would withstand typical bridge life 80 to 100 years.”

She said the temporary bridge should last seven to 10 years, which hopefully will be enough time for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to investigate why the dam failed and determine how to replace it.

“The review process takes a couple of years, in addition to identifying funding in our budget,” Hall said. “While we could go ahead and put the same size structure in, there is a good chance that in a few years we would be going back and removing it.”

The temporary bridge will be removed from the area once a final plan is in place. Hall said it can be reused if another bridge needs to be rebuilt elsewhere in Michigan.

“At the end of the day, we have 230 feet of temporary bridge that can be removed from that situation, stored and reused in another situation,” she said.

The temporary bridge should be in place and open by mid-February.

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