BAY CITY (WJRT) - (06/14/19) - There are a lot of happy drivers in Bay City.
The Michigan Department of Transportation reopened all four lanes of the Vets Bridge Friday morning.
MDOT contractors have been working on the drawbridge for a few months, leading to partial closures and a complete closure at one point.
"That got a 'yay' reaction from me and my boss," said Tabitha Livingston who works at the Comfort Inn on the east side of the bridge. "It's a relief, can finally get to the other side of town without going the long way."
Detouring has been a challenge for locals as well as out-of-towners. "We've had a lot of questions about, 'well, how do we get out of town, how do we navigate around'," Livingston said.
Patrick Tanner of Monitor Township is happy many of the orange cones have been removed. "It's exciting because regardless of if you use Vets Bridge or not, the closure of the bridge was clogging up other avenues in the city and it was making the commute kind of tough."
Tanner said it was especially challenging at the end of the work day when he had to cross the bridge to pick up his son. "It extended my commute probably an additional, honestly, an additional 45 minutes," Tanner said. "It was pretty heavy both ways, and this was at the time between four o'clock, so you know, typical rush hour."
While drivers were detoured, MDOT contractors had a lot to do.
The pavement was repaired, and electrical and mechanical upgrades were made to the drawbridge.
The entire project costs $2.7 million.
And while the bridge has reopened in both directions, the work is not complete. There will be occasional lane closures throughout the rest of the project which is scheduled to end in early August.
"It's been a bit of a headache, but if it fixes the problems then I guess, you know, I can deal with it. But, I'm not one that has to commute back and forth every day across the bridge," Livingston said.