MDOT holds final Portage Lake Lift Bridge project public meeting

HOUGHTON — Business owners, government agencies and community members gathered on the Michigan Tech campus for the final public meeting regarding the Portage Lake Lift Bridge Rehab project.

Those in attendance were given a presentation about the work and then directed their questions and concerns to MDOT officials, as well as contractors from Zenith Tech Incorporated, who won the bid for the project.

Most of the questions dealt with the closures and how difficult the adjustment will be. MDOT Project Manager Alan Anderson says they have been mindful of the community’s concerns, but the work still needs to be done.

“We want to make sure that this bridge remains a reliable structure for many years to come. There’s items on the bridge that have been identified through different inspections that are starting to show wear and it is important to make sure these are upgraded,” Anderson said.

This will be the first time extensive work has been done on the bridge, which includes lift cable replacement, balance chain maintenance, along with mechanical and electrical upgrades.

The delays will feature a 10-hour closure on January 17th, with a similar one in March and more than 180 smaller closures that will be spread out over the next three months. However, most of these delays will happen at night and MDOT will be keeping people up to date so drivers can plan ahead.

“We will be putting out press releases on these closures. There will be notifications on Twitter and Facebook, the MDOT website, as well as notifications on message boards that are scattered out on all the various roadways in the area,” said Anderson.

Those involved in the project made it clear that adjustments to schedules will have to be made and weather should not be a concern for the work being done. Once the job is complete in the spring of 2016, it will be a long while before more work would need to be done.