Bridges complete in pathway project
By Tim Barnum
News Editor | email@example.com
WEST BRANCH TWP. — Two bridges along the Business Loop in West Branch Township have been erected, and it is possible more work could be completed on the project this fall, according to Township Supervisor Jay Spaulding.
The bridges, built by the York Bridge Company, received their final inspection Oct. 11, according to Downtown Development Authority Secretary Steve Steinhauser. The DDA allocated around $150,000 for the bridges.
Spaulding said the project, which is being funded by the West Branch Township DDA, could progress soon if the Michigan Department of Transportation completes restoration work on its Business Loop project.
“We’re waiting for MDOT to sign off on the project before we proceed,” he said. “We’re hoping to still be able to start the lighting project. We would like to get the sidewalks in by (Exit) 212.”
“We’re waiting for them to get done before we determine if we’re going to do anything this fall,” Steinhauser added.
Spaulding said the project is comprised of the two bridges, a sidewalk along Cook Road to Austin’s Way, and a concrete pathway from Glen’s Market to Cook Road.
Steinhauser said 88 lights will be put up along the pathway route. If MDOT completes its restoration work, Steinhauser said the lights could be installed before winter.
“We should be able to get the lights in, at least, before the snow falls,” he said.
According to Spaulding, the DDA has moved forward with the lighting.
“The DDA, at their last meeting, authorized soliciting the bids for the lighting,” he said.
According to Steinhauser, the lights may benefit the city of West Branch as well, because drivers who get off I-75 at Exit 212 may be more liable to continue down the Business Loop if there is a lighted route along the roadway.
Currently, the only visible signs of the project are the two bridges, one near Team Hodges over the Rifle River and one over Eddy Creek — the former being about 260 feet long and the latter being around 70 feet long. Spaulding said township residents have welcomed the “bridges to nowhere” and are excited about the overall project.
“We’ve had several people say they liked the bridges and they’re happy there’s going to be a pathway,” he said. “They haven’t teased us too much about the bridges to nowhere.”
Although the DDA is waiting to proceed, Steinhauser said the project, which is several years in the making, will most likely be done this spring if it cannot be completed before winter.
“It’s taken us eight years to get this far, so another three or four months isn’t going to kill us,” he said.
The DDA is funded by tax increment finance collections, which are collected from businesses on Hamburger Hill.