Ann Arbor bridge project near Michigan Stadium set to begin next week

Nov 21, 2011

Demolition of two crumbling bridges near Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor will start November 28th, according to the city of Ann Arbor.

The Stadium Boulevard bridges were built in 1928 and they span South State Street and the Ann Arbor Railroad. The bridges have been in need of repair or replacement for some time and are considered "functionally obsolete."

The city of Ann Arbor was hoping federal transportation funds would come through to help rebuild the bridges. After missing out on one round, federal funding eventually did come through.

A $13.9 million grant from U.S. Department of Transportation's "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery" (TIGER) program will help pay for part of the project. The remainder of the funding will come from the state of Michigan ($300,000), and the city of Ann Arbor ($6,600,000).

Michigan Congressmen John Dingell (D-Dearborn) was at a ceremony today by the old bridges to celebrate the beginning of the project.

A statement from John Dingell's office:

Since January 2009, traffic has been reduced to one lane in each direction on the north side of the bridge after an inspection showed a small deflection in one of the beams under the eastbound traffic.  The project includes removal and replacement of the existing bridges over South State Street and the Ann Arbor Railroad, staircase construction at South State Street, University of Michigan pedestrian tunnel extensions, installation of retaining walls and new street lighting along the south and north sides of East Stadium Boulevard, replacement of storm sewer and water main and enhancements of Rose-White Park.

Ryan Stanton at AnnArbor.com reported on the ceremony today:

Dingell, who is given credit for helping Ann Arbor secure a $13.9 million federal TIGER grant for the project, remarked that "Thanksgiving came early this year."

"We all did this," added Dingell, paying tribute to the community support. "We have a peculiar system of government, but believe it or not, it works if everybody pulls together."

Dingell, D-Dearborn, called the condition of the Stadium bridges "terrible," but he also said it was terribly competitive trying to secure federal funding for them.

Instead of ceremonial shovels, the participating officials had ceremonial sledgehammers. Russell Jorgensen of the Federal Highway Administration remarked that the city was lucky to receive the federal funding from the competitive TIGER grant program.