The Pleasant Valley Road bridge over eastbound I-96 in Brighton Township has re-opened to traffic, well ahead of schedule.

Projected completion was in November but the bridge re-opened late Thursday afternoon. Four of the six bridge beams were significantly damaged last September by a flatbed semi that was hauling several boom lifts. The structure over eastbound I-96 had to be removed so the freeway could safely reopen. The resulting gap created issues for residents and commuters, as well as nearby businesses that had much reduced foot traffic. After the project went out to bid, steel bridge beams had to be fabricated, which are made on demand and take time.

Assistant Construction Engineer Craig Heidelberg with M-DOT’s Brighton Transportation Service Center tells WHMI the bridge is now open and the detour is done. He says crews have replaced the span of the bridge that was hit last year but also raised up the deck and beams by about 20 inches so the bridge will sit up higher than it used to. Heidelberg says there is still some minor work left to finish up, which could involve shoulder closures or lane closures with flag control, but the major detour is complete.

At the start of the project, M-DOT officials stressed that it was a priority to get the work done as quickly as possible but noted there are also standards and safety criteria to abide by. Heidelberg says M-DOT realizes that closing Pleasant Valley Road caused issues for motorists but it obviously had to be done following the bridge hit. He says although it had to close, all of the work was expedited and they’re happy they got it completed and open as soon as they did. (JM)