Crews wrap work on Clinton River bridge

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 7, 2012

MOUNT CLEMENS — A Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman said lane closures on Gratiot Avenue, near the border of Clinton Township and Mount Clemens, have all ended as construction comes to an end.

The project’s completion marked the last phase of a two-year series of renovations along Gratiot (M-3), between Remick Drive and Sandpiper Drive. As of Nov. 2, the project was essentially complete, with all but a punch list of things to wrap up, said MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi.

The year before, 2010, road crews began a $3.6 million, 2.5-mile resurfacing of the southbound avenue, from Cass Avenue in Mount Clemens to Sunnyview Street in Clinton Township.

The work continued in 2011 from Cass Avenue to Sandpiper Drive in Mount Clemens. Last year, road crews also began work on the $16 million process of replacing the southbound Gratiot bridge over the Clinton River, which dated back to 1920, and conducting a major rehabilitation of its northbound counterpart, constructed in the 1960s.

This year, workers finished up work on the bridge and conducted work on northbound Gratiot, from Harrington to Kibbee streets, and  resurfacing a half-mile from Market to Welts streets.

They also finished up work on the bridge this year.

“Everything that we did in terms of physical road improvements had to be staged around the bridge replacement,” Morosi added. “That was really the nuts and bolts of the job.”

He said work this year was expected to end this August, but the unexpected discovery of trolley tracks and a cement-encased, 1890s water main in the reconstructed area between Colonial and Wellington Crescent delayed the project’s completion by about two months.

For traffic, construction meant cutting down traffic to one or two lanes, and at times blocking off the cross-streets to the northbound and southbound lanes.

One Gratiot business owner, Greg Sassin, co-owner of Farmers Market in Clinton Township, was among those happy to see the construction end. He said he understood that the renovations were needed.

“At the same time, for me, during my busy season, it affects my business,” he said, estimating a slight decrease in business.

He has seen customers come in to the store angry over lane closures that caused waits to get across the bridge from Mount Clemens.

Morosi said the bridge renovations helped ensure the safety of the thousands of people who cross the bridge daily.

“What we hope business owners understand is that, after years of construction, we now have a roadway that has a long-term fix, that people will not avoid because of poor pavement conditions,” he added. “That will help serve their customer base for years to come.”