MDOT: U.S. 31 construction in Bear Lake to begin Monday

A construction project along U.S. 31 in Bear Lake is slated to begin Monday with a completion date set for May 25. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

A construction project along U.S. 31 in Bear Lake is slated to begin Monday with a completion date set for May 25. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — U.S. 31 takes motorists traveling through Manistee County along the picturesque shoreline of Bear Lake.

The portion of the route that winds closest to the water, however, will be under construction starting Monday, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“This is an occasion where our roadway is very close to Bear Lake and over the years the slope of the shoreline has begun eroding,” explained James Lake of the MDOT Office of Communications. “It’s to the point now where we want to make sure we can stabilize that slope, thereby stabilizing the roadway as well.

“It’s a relatively rare type of project, but we want to make sure the road is maintained for motorists. So, it’s important to get this work done.”

Slated to begin Monday, the project is expected to be complete by May 25. During construction, one lane of alternating traffic will be controlled with a temporary traffic signal.

“This will be similar to what motorists have encountered on some of our bridge projects in the region,” Lake said, “where we set up temporary traffic signals on both ends of the bridge and we allow one lane of traffic at a time.”

The scope of the project includes construction of a retaining wall and stabilization of the Bear Lake shoreline on U.S. 31, near Highland Drive. The work will help stabilize the roadway, and includes repair of settled pavement and guardrail replacement.

“We’ll essentially add a new wall of sheet piling, attached to the sheet piling that already exists in that location,” Lake said.

MDOT is investing $883,000 toward the project, Lake said.

“This is from our reconstruction and rehabilitation funding,” he explained, “which is generally 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent state funds.

“Every year our engineers review every mile of state trunkline within our region,” Lake added, citing Manistee County falls in MDOT’s North Region. “We look at every mile, every bridge and assess their condition and prioritize (potential projects) based on the repairs that are needed and available funding.”

Milbocker & Sons, Inc. of Allegan was awarded the contract for construction of the project.

While the project falls solely under the jurisdiction of MDOT, Manistee County Road Commission manager Mark Sohlden expects the resulting traffic restrictions to run smoothly for both his staff and the traveling public.

“I’m sure for motorists there will be slight delays, depending on the time of day, but the temporary traffic signals should have them running fairly smoothly,” he said. “We have a state maintenance contract with MDOT, so typically most of the work we’ll do (on state trunklines) is routine maintenance — snowplowing, pothole patching, gravel shoulders, things of that nature — but for their major projects, they’ll put those out for bid.

“We’re aware of the project, because MDOT obviously keeps us in the loop on things like this,” Sohlden said, “but from an operation standpoint, our staff shouldn’t be affected too much by the project.”

avatar

Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply