MDOT has stated that no bridges are ever left open if they are unsafe for drivers to cross. However, Michigan Department of Transportation recently provided an update on just how bad some of our bridges are in the state.

Road Closed Barricade Blocks Access To Major Interstate Construction Site
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Jonathan Bruimsna, a bridge engineer with MDOT told WOOD TV,

"The ASCE, the American Society of Civil Engineers, gave us a D+ rating so it’s not great."

There are about 13,000 bridges in Michigan and nearly 1,100 are rated in poor condition.  The bridges get rated from zero to nine. Zero being the worst and nine being like brand new. Most Michigan bridges are in the five to six categories, meaning they are in fair condition.  Bridges are inspected by MDOT engineers at least once every 24 months unless a bridge is rated poor then it’s inspected at least once a year.

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There are a significant number of bridges rated four or below which means they are in poor condition. Fixing them comes at a cost. Bruimsna said,

"On a state level, it’s $2.5 billion to bring all the state-owned bridges up to good or fair then I think an additional $1.5 billion to bring all the local agencies bridges so a total of $4 billion to bring all the poor or worse bridges up to good or fair."

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The hope is for one day to have all Michigan bridges rated in good condition.  Major road and bridge construction projects can last several months or longer, and may involve significant delays. Here are a few areas in West Michigan currently being improved:

  • MDOT is currently resurfacing 6 miles of M-37 from the north village limit of Middleville to 92nd street in Caledonia.
  • The Michigan Department of Transportation is investing $34 million to rebuild and improve approximately 12 miles of southbound I-196 from M-40 in Holland to 130th Avenue in the Saugatuck/Douglas areas. This project will include rebuilding and resurfacing, culvert replacements, bridge improvements, and replacing the Saugatuck Rest Area with a new facility.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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