LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State Highway 30 temporary bridge over the Tobacco River in Gladwin County was opened to traffic March 11 by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The M-30 corridor had been closed for 10 months because of infrastructure and flooding issues in the wake of a 500-year flood in May 2020.
“Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer asked MDOT to prioritize restoring flood-damaged roads and bridges, and she is thrilled by the way the department and contractors responded,” said Paul Ajegba, state transportation director. “Their hard work helped restore mobility for commuters and the flow of commerce across these communities.”
The temporary steel structure, which was prefabricated and assembled on-site to help reduce costs and speed restoration of the corridor, is intended to be used for five to seven years. Once the permanent bridge is built, the temporary bridge will be removed and stored for potential future construction and emergency events. The 230-foot structure cost $4.5 million for the bridge components and installation.
By using a temporary structure, MDOT was able to reopen the roadway less than one year following flood damage. The long-term structure of the river system is not known at this time.
Following the 500-year flooding event in May 2020, MDOT and local officials closed nearly 30 roads and bridges across several counties, including two in Midland and Gladwin counties.
MDOT will begin working on a permanent bridge design for M-30 over the Tobacco River and replacing the M-65 structures at Big Creek and Jose Drain in Arenac County, also damaged as a result of May flooding.
Infrastructure damages from the flood are expected to exceed $100 million, according to MDOT.
MDOT is beginning to receive installments of emergency federal funding to offset costs of the repairs.
The road closures cut communities in half and forced commuters and residents to take detours. For local resident Beth Kelley, the bridge closure meant an hour drive to her parents’ home at the peak of road closures and detours.
“I used to be able to pop down the road to visit my parents, and for almost a year that simple trip has turned out to be really cumbersome,” Kelley said. “Every road that has reopened over the last several months has helped to make that commute shorter. For them living on the north side of the bridge, even simple grocery store runs have taken twice as long, so our family is thrilled to have the road reopening. We’re so thankful for all of the hard work that has happened out here and of the community for banding together in this challenging time.”
MDOT has also completed repairs to the U.S. 10 bridge at Sanford Lake and Saginaw Street, as well as the M-30 bridge and the Curtis Road bridge over the Tittabawassee River.
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