By Jay Penny

Three of six structurally deficient bridges in Kalamazoo County were repaired this summer.

Kalamazoo County had six structurally deficient bridges, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Highway Bridge 2015 Report.  The report uses a ten-point scale to rate the deck, superstructure and substructure independently. A score lower than 4 designates “poor” condition.

Three of the bridges on the list have been repaired. These include the Stadium Drive bridge and the bridge above U.S. 131 at Oakland Drive.

Route Site Deck Rating Superstructure rating Substructure Rating
Cork Street I-94 4 3 6
I-94 E. Michigan Ave. 5 3 6
I-94 Stadium Drive 4 4 6
Sprinkle Road I-94 3 5 6
U.S. 131 Douglas Ave. 4 6 6
U.S. 131 Amtrack/KL Ave. 4 5 5

List of defective bridges within Kalamazoo County according to the MDOT 2015 Bridge Report.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder addressed the problem in his 2015 State of the State address while speaking about the bipartisan work that had been accomplished.  “The key issue is public safety,” said Snyder. “If you look at it and you look at our bridges, one out of nine is structurally deficient.”

Snyder has made the poor bridges a key talking point as Michigan ranks 16th in the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s ranking of structurally deficient bridges.

The Superstructure and Substructure of an underpass.

The Superstructure and Substructure of an underpass.

“So, when you drive Michigan and you see plywood underneath the bridge, why is it there? It’s keeping crumbling concrete from falling on your vehicle, that’s unacceptable,” said Snyder during his 2015 address.

Snyder mentioned bridges in his 2016 address, but the water pipes that run underneath many defective bridges was the topic.

Travis Bartholomew, operations director at the road commission of Kalamazoo County, said that the five projects that happened over the summer of 2016 focused on preventive maintenance such as replacing the guardrails and repaving the road surface decking.

“We hope to work on quite a few bridges,” said Bartholomew.  “We are almost calling this the year of the bridges.”

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