MDOT will be starting work on the Portage Lift Bridge Rehab Project this winter, and representatives were present during a special joint meeting of the Houghton and Hancock city councils.

Project manager Alan Anderson presented the details on the $5.3 million project and took questions from those in attendance. Hancock city manager Glen Anderson says the project looks like it will have some temporary negative impacts.

“All the work for the most part will be done at night, so there will be some neighborhood impacts with noise and lights, so it’ll certainly have some negative impacts as well, but overall obviously we want to have a bridge in great condition, so if that means some discomfort during the year and a half of time, it will be worth it,” he said.

Among the concerns brought up were traffic delays and what effects the weather may have on the project, but MDOT has reassured everyone that they’ll have to tough it out.

“MDOT understands the issues we have here,” Anderson said. “Of course, during the first winter, there will be snow removal conditions in a very tough environment for the workers that will actually be doing the work on the bridge. But those can all be overcome and I would expect at least a decent performance by everyone.”

The project will hopefully be completed by the spring of 2016. Some of the work that will be done includes life cable replacement, electrical and mechanical upgrades as well as security system improvements.

MDOT says they’re working on a system right now where they can send alerts straight to your phone regarding delays that may last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, all to ensure the safety and functionality of the most iconic bridge in the Copper Country.