Overpass crumbles onto I-75 median - WNEM TV 5

Overpass crumbles onto I-75 median

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

A Mid-Michigan bridge not slated for reconstruction until 2019 is running into trouble. 

Mackinaw Road bridge over I-75 in Bay County is closed due to a collapse in the pavement.

Bay County resident Dave Bothe says he lives right around the corner from the Mackinaw Road bridge that crosses over I-75 and he says it's been in bad shape for years.

He wasn't wrong.  Early Sunday morning pavement on the already crumbling bridge fell through, creating a 5 by 4 foot hole. Leaving it un-driveable.

The Bay County Road Commission has closed both ends of the bridge to keep drivers off. When asked about safety they said where the pavement had fallen through was directly over the median, so no drivers were hurt.

MDOT's communications representative Jocelyn Hall says there are several contributing factors to a "fall-through" like this.

"Age and weather are probably the two biggest contributors so this particular bridge was constructed in 1967, it has at least a solid 50 years of service under its belt,” Hall said. “The condition of the bridge deck has been really closely monitored over the last couple years because we were aware that it was going to need to be replaced sometime in the near future, so it was something we were keeping an eye on."

When we looked into MDOT's latest "Maintenance Bridge Report" we found the bridge was deemed "structurally deficient" back in March of 2015.

"The bridge in its entirety is not structurally deficient,” Hall said. “It's listed as structurally deficient because of the bridge deck."

Hall tells WNEM TV5 this particular deck is inspected every 12 months, however, a typical inspection occurs every two years.

When Bothe was asked if he was worried, he said: "If something was to fall on the expressway, that could really hurt somebody."

This is a big safety concern for drivers in this area, but Hall said they've taken the extra precautions necessary for safe travel.

"So in the event that a portion of the deck that covered live traffic were to break away, it would have been caught by false-deck patching that our crews have already installed,” Hall said. “So we've taken additional safety measures to make sure that I-75 traffic wouldn't be impacted in any kind of danger should a portion of the deck fall away."

The bridge will remain closed for up to two weeks to undergo maintenance repair.

Currently, MDOT has no plans to move the bridge reconstruction date up.

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