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$4 million temporary M-30 bridge over Tobacco River opens to traffic

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 7:25 PM EST
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GLADWIN COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Department of Transportation reached another major step in the recovery from the devastating floods after the Edenville and Sanford dams failed last spring.

The $4 million temporary M-30 bridge in Gladwin County is now opened to traffic. The original bridge was washed out by water rushing through the Edenville Dam when it failed on May 19, sending the contents of Wixom Lake rushing down the Tittabawassee River into the Midland area.

“Some people remember when that bridge was first washed out, people were traveling an hour out of their way to get to a place that usually took five to 10 minutes to get to,” MDOT spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall said.

Now a temporary bridge sits over the Tobacco River at the remnants of the Edenville Dam.

“We’re coming up 10 months that the road has ben impassable for residents and as a commuter route,” Hall said. “So we’ve been able to tackle a lot of the bridge repairs up until now, and this is one of the final pieces to repair mobility for Gladwin and Midland counties.”

MDOT says this temporary bridge will be in place for years before a permanent structure is built.

“Our thought process when we selected this particular model was that we would leave it in place for five to seven years. From a long-term standpoint, we really need to know what the waterway will look like in that area,” Hall said.

So building something of that scale into place wasn’t possible right away while plans continue for the future of the Four Lakes area and rebuilding the breached dams. Leaving the bridge closed until a permanent span can be constructed was too long of a wait.

“We would have been looking at two to five years minimum to make a decision. Then there would have been the design process time, so probably realistically about five years before a bridge was reopened,” Hall said.

MDOT decided creating mobility for residents in the area was a top priority, so they could take their time to plan properly for the final bridge to be installed hopefully within the next 10 years.

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