Construction project reaches final stage

HANCOCK — The final phase of a major road reconstruction project in Hancock is getting underway.

Last summer, Quincy Street through downtown was completely redone and now the Michigan Department of Transportation will start working on Front Street from Reservation Street to the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. The result will be a smoother, wider surface for motorists.

MDOT Communications Representative Dan Weingarten said, “It’s going to be 11-foot lanes instead of 10-foot lanes, so it’ll be slightly wider. It’s going to be asphalt paved. And then ramp that leads underneath the bridge to Ripley is going to be reconfigured. There’ll be a wider paved shoulder on that ramp for potential bike and pedestrian use, also as a breakdown lane.”

The work means traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction on Front Street. The ramp underneath the bridge to M-26 will also be shut down a couple of weeks from now as crews begin to work on that section, meaning traffic heading from Hancock to Ripley will have to detour across the bridge, through Houghton and back again to get to the other side.

Weingarten said, “But when we’re done, we hope that the inconvenience is worth it and that the smoother ride and another probably 20 years of service life for the pavement will be worth it.”

The project is expected to be completed by late July.