abc
QUICK LINKS:

Threat of Winter Weather Changes Bong Bridge Plans

Updated: 03/31/2014 7:49 AM
Created: 03/30/2014 5:31 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Major road construction on the Bong Bridge was scheduled to close the westbound lanes on Monday but that was pushed back to May. The delay will help thousands of commuters, but they may not be happy about the cause.

It will take two years and $18 million to reconstruct the deck of the Bong Bridge and repaint the structure. Duluth bound traffic was going to be detoured to the Blatnik Bridge starting Monday, but Mother Nature had different plans.

“The other fact is we're still having winter up here. I mean we sat here last Friday and we have a camera that's pointed at the approach to the Blatnik Bridge. And we watched in a snowstorm three trucks stuck on the approach going up the Blatnik,” WisDOT Project Manager Matt Dickenson said.

Dickenson is leading the Bong Bridge reconstruction, and he said the threat of winter weather was a factor in delaying the construction until May 5.

“We could still have that here in April, the whole month of April,” Dickenson said.

In May the westbound lanes will close so the concrete roadway can be redone. The eastbound lanes to Superior will be reconstructed next summer. Dickenson said that will extend the life of the bridge, but it's not the only improvement planned.

A traffic light at the junction of Highway 2 and Belknap St. will be replaced by a roundabout when the project is finished in late 2015. The change is not always popular at first according to Traffic Engineer Morris Luke.

“So it's like maybe 80 to 90 percent are against it at first, but once they have driven them and get used to them it's a 180 degree shift,” Luke said.

He said roundabouts reduce crashes so well that the numbers speak for themselves.

“Injuries decrease by 76 percent, fatalities by 90 percent so with those stats roundabout safety is huge,” Luke said.

The construction may wait until May, but a Dickenson said a contractor is ready to start painting the bridge structure this week. That would close one lane along the Bong Bridge, but Dickenson said that work depends on the weather too.

“He does not necessarily want to be up there if it's snowing either because that's just an unsafe situation. So he may wait until conditions are a little better to start making those single-lane closures,” Dickenson said.

With or with the construction drivers may want to factor in a little extra time for their commute.

The project will impact a lot of drivers as about 16,000 to 18,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.

Front Page

  • Woman Hospitalized after Armed Standoff with Deputies in Douglas County

    A 22-year-old Lake Nebagamon woman was hospitalized on Wednesday evening after an armed standoff with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. 

  • City of Tower Starts Dredging on Multi-Million-Dollar Harbor Project

    The City of Tower is starting a new phase of an old dream. Back in June, WDIO's sister station KSTP reported that Tower's multi-million-dollar Harbor Renaissance Project hadn't gone anywhere in seven years. But Wednesday, the City said they're moving forward.

  • Minnesota Food Charter Launched at DECC

    Around five hundred people flocked to the DECC for the Minnesota Statewide Food Access Summit. One of the big events? The launch of the of the Minnesota Food Charter. Only four other states have a food charter, but Food Charter Steering Committee Chair Mindy Kurzer said number five is unique.

  • Bong Bridge to Reopen Friday

    The Duluth-bound lanes of the Richard I. Bong Bridge are expected to reopen Friday morning after a summer of construction.  Superior-bound lanes have remained open this year but will be closed next year.

  • TV Campaign Ads Make Wealth an Issue in Minn. Election

    It seems an hour doesn't go by without several television campaign ads criticizing a candidate for having millions of dollars or trying to line his or her pockets at government expense. Class warfare is nothing new in politics, but it certainly is more pronounced in Minnesota this year because of two Republican candidates: Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden. They've been the target of a barrage of attack ads aimed at their personal wealth and how they accumulated it.

 

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Iron
Expires: 10/31/2014 11:00 AM

Lakeshore Flood Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Alger; Baraga; Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Marquette; Ontonagon
Expires: 10/31/2014 2:00 PM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Houghton; Keweenaw; Ontonagon; Southern Houghton
Expires: 10/31/2014 12:00 PM

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement