DNR closes bridge for spring, summer repairs

EWEN — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has closed the South Branch of the Ontonagon River bridge near Ewen to off-road vehicle traffic during construction activities, which are expected to continue into October.

“This is an important bridge repair project we first began developing several years ago,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator.

The 1.25-mile trail closure began April 17 between Cedar Street in Ewen and North Cemetery Road, which is situated east of town. A 3-mile trail reroute has been established and signed along South Cedar Street to McRae Road, east to North Cemetery Road.

The DNR is grateful to the Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment (MI-TRALE), which is the trail sponsor, the Ontonagon County Road Commission and McMillan Township for developing the temporary trail reroute.

Trail users are reminded to be respectful of private property while using the detour.

“This bridge provides access for snowmobile, ORV and non-motorized traffic on the Bergland to Sidnaw Rail Grade,” said Jeff Kakuk, DNR western Upper Peninsula trails specialist. “The project will consist of repairs to the bridge abutments and the installation of a new deck structure and railings.”

The 443-foot-long steel plate girder bridge, which was constructed during original Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic railroad development, has undergone engineering review by NDG Consulting of Traverse City.

This $803,000 project is being funded through ORV and Recreational Trails Program funding. Repairs are being performed by MJO Contracting Inc. of Hancock.

The Bergland to Sidnaw Rail Trail (Snowmobile Trail No. 8) uses the former DSS&A railroad grade and runs for 49 miles. The route parallels M-28, running east and west, in Ontonagon County.

For more information on the project, please contact Kakuk at 906-563-9247, ext. 109 or kakukj@michigan.gov.

For more information on ORV trails in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/orvtrails.