Building bridges

BIG BAY – The Marquette County Road Commission has begun work on a series of six bridge projects along Marquette County Road 550 and the Triple A Road, which will continue to upgrade the route from the Eagle Mine to the city of Marquette.

Production at the mine is slated to get under way late this year, with full nickel and copper ore production expected next year. Work paid for by the Lunding Mining Corp. to upgrade roads and bridges – which began last year and was halted for winter – has resumed.

Road crews have constructed temporary “runarounds” for traffic at Harlow Creek and the Yellow Dog River, with another being built at Compeau Creek.

A temporary bridge is put in place next to the existing bridge for motorists to use during construction. A temporary traffic signal is set up, with only one lane of traffic able to use the temporary bridge at a time.

Work on the Compeau Creek, Harlow Creek and Yellow Dog River bridge projects began in June and is expected to continue into August. At that time, work will begin on two additional bridge projects over the Little Garlic River and Big Garlic River.

“The road commission is pleased that it will be able to upgrade the five bridges on County Road 550 to current standards,” said Marquette County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Jim Iwanicki. “Updating the bridges to current standards will provide a 12-foot travel lane and an 8-foot shoulder in each direction. These wider bridges will make it safer and easier for all types of traffic to use County Road 550.”

A sixth bridge project will take place along the Triple A Road, beginning Aug. 1.

Iwanicki provided some details on the bridge projects. All of the bridges along County Road 550 will be 43 feet, 9 inches wide.

At Compeau Creek, a bridge 40 feet long is being constructed with concrete box beams and a 6-inch pour concrete deck. Work will begin June 30 and is expected to be completed by Aug. 29. Cost of the project is $889,363.

At Harlow Creek and the Yellow Dog River, similar concrete box beam bridges with 6-inch pour concrete decking are being constructed. Both of those spans will be 60 feet long.

The Harlow Creek bridge project began June 3 and will continue until Aug. 8. The cost is $1.1 million.

On the Yellow Dog River, work started June 5 and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 10. Cost to build the 60-foot-long bridge is $1.4 million.

On Aug. 4, work will begin on the 60-foot-long bridges over the Little Garlic River and the Big Garlic River. Work on both of those bridges is expected to be finished by Nov. 15. Those spans will also be built with concrete box beams and a 6-inch pour concrete deck.

The contracts for the two Garlic rivers bridge projects are scheduled to be bid out July 11. The pair of bridges are estimated to cost about $900,000 each.

“County Road 550 at the Big Garlic is being put on a new alignment, so we will be using the existing bridge until the new one is ready for traffic,” Iwanicki said.

The Triple A Road project will involve construction of a 95-foot-long bridge over the Salmon Trout River. The project is slated to be finished Oct. 27. The span will be 43-feet, 6 inches wide. The bridge will be built with 54-inch concrete I-beams and a 9-inch pour concrete deck. A detour will be provided.

Lundin will truck ore from the Eagle Mine into the city of Marquette, up Wright Street and County Road HQ to U.S. 41, to M-95 and Marquette County Road 601 to reach the Humboldt Mill in Humboldt Township, east of Champion.

About 45 round trips will be made each day over the anticipated 8-year lifespan of the mine.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.