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Michigan Department of Transportation Begins Bridge Bundling Pilot

Tue March 15, 2022 - Midwest Edition #6
Michigan Department of Transportation

The interactive map on the new Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot program ( showing the location of the 19 locally owned bridge repair jobs included in the pilot program around the state.
The interactive map on the new Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) bridge bundling pilot program ( showing the location of the 19 locally owned bridge repair jobs included in the pilot program around the state.

A Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) initiative to bundle bridge projects together to make them more cost-effective is under way.

A pilot project, the first of its kind in Michigan, encompasses 19 bridges owned by local agencies. MDOT expects bridge bundling, which covers several bridge locations under one contract, to streamline coordination and permitting, increase economies of scale and improve bridge conditions on local routes around the state. MDOT is working to expand the approach, already in use on state trunkline projects, to address locally owned bridges.

"This is the most supportive program from the state of Michigan for local bridges that I've ever seen," said Wayne Harrall, deputy managing director of engineering at the Kent County Road Commission. "The MDOT Bureau of Bridges has engaged with local agencies from the beginning, before there was even funding allocated to the effort."

State transportation departments are charged by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with ensuring all public bridge inspections are performed correctly and on time. Bridge bundling offers a higher level of support to local government to reduce the number of bridges in serious and critical condition statewide. MDOT provides a neutral third party with engineering and contract negotiation expertise, along with additional funding, to the bridge bundling program.

"The pilot includes 19 local agency-owned bridges around the state with major bridge elements in serious or critical condition," said Matt Chynoweth, MDOT chief bridge engineer. "The scope of work for these bridges is superstructure replacement, which includes full removal and replacement of the bridge deck and supporting beams. Under the pilot program, all bridges will be rebuilt this year, beginning in March. The contract requirements call for them to be finished in 60 or 90 days."

Harrall said that the program encourages him about the future of local bridge conditions.

"This pilot program will see 19 bridges brought to a condition where they should last another 50 years," Harrall said. "Allowing millions of dollars to stay in the local bridge pot, where they can fix other structures, will hopefully get us into a position where can better preserve and maintain the local bridge system."

The 19 bridges to be rebuilt this year, along with scheduled start dates and contracted length of the project, are:

  • Clinton County: Herbison Road (March 1, 90 days), Tallman Road (April 15, 90 days)
  • Eaton County: Five Point Highway (June 15, 60 days)
  • Hillsdale County: Squawfield Road (June 15, 60 days)
  • Ingham County: Linn Road (April 15, 60 days), Dennis Road (June 14, 60 days)
  • Lenawee County: Sand Creek Highway (Aug. 15, 90 days)
  • Lapeer County: Bentley Street (March 1, 60 days)
  • Livingston County: Mason Road (May 2, 60 days), Iosco Road (May 6, 60 days)
  • Luce County: Dollarville Road (Aug. 15, 60 days)
  • Jackson County: E. Washington Street (March 1, 60 days)
  • Macomb County: 33 Mile Road (March 10, 60 days), 31 Mile Road (March 16, 60 days), 26 Mile Road (April 15, 90 days)
  • Muskegon County: Maple Island Road (June 15, 60 days)
  • Ottawa County: Byron Road (March 1, 90 days)
  • St. Clair County: Palms Road (March 22, 90 days)
  • St. Joseph County: Nottawa Road (Aug. 15, 90 days)

During work, all bridges will be closed and detoured as requested by the local agencies. Chynoweth said the projects will stay within the existing bridge footprints with minor road work to accommodate new bridge elevations or changes in cross-section to meet current geometric requirements.

An online dashboard at will provide project updates and show percent completion, detour routes and other information for each of these projects. MDOT expects to provide photos during the construction process, as well.

By combining several contracts into one, bridge bundling allows one contractor, or group of contractors, to work on multiple bridges in several locations, simultaneously. This can bring taxpayer savings through the standardization of bridge components and mobilization costs. The contract for the pilot program was awarded last year when local agencies and MDOT collaborated on the design and coordination of the project with a joint venture of two bridge contractors, C.A. Hull and Anlaan, for the low bid of $24.3 million. Alfred Benesch and Co. was the lead design firm.

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation's FHWA awarded MDOT $978,000 to further its bridge bundling efforts on local agency routes, developing a framework for expanding the program. This grant was one of only seven awarded nationwide.

MDOT estimates $2 billion is required to get all state-owned bridges up to good or fair condition, and another $1.5 billion to do the same for all local agency-owned bridges. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature appropriated $196 million in federal COVID relief funds in a Fiscal Year 2021 supplemental budget request for the next phase of the bridge bundling program. With this funding, MDOT anticipates the state can rebuild another 50 bridges or more, addressing bridges prioritized as critical to regional mobility and safety.

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