Prairie River bridge construction to begin

Access from the eastern half of St. Joseph County to Centreville will require a few additional minutes beginning next week.
Michigan Department of Transportation on Monday will start its $4.9 million project that involves construction of a new bridge on M-86 at the Prairie River.
As a result, a portion of M-86 will be closed and a posted detour will remain in place until the task is completed. Nick Schirripa, MDOT spokesman, said the project will likely conclude in October.
He said the 93-year-old bridge originally stood on Telegraph Road in Wayne County, where it straddled the River Rouge. It was moved to St. Joseph County in 1938, and will be refurbished and relocated to the lower-volume Crystal Springs Road in Cass County’s Pokagon Township.
Detour traffic will be directed to Featherstone Road between M-66 to the east and Shimmel Road to the west.
St. Joseph County Road Commission officials have said they plan to monitor traffic on local roads – primarily Findley Road to the south and Truckenmiller Road to the north – to ensure the routes are aptly handling the load of what will likely be an abundance of local traffic opting to not go all the way down to Featherstone Road.
Schirripa said the current structure is 90 feet long. Its replacement will be 104 feet in length.
He said the bridge currently handles an average of 4,600 vehicles over any given 24-hour period.
The detour will go into effect between 6 and 7 a.m. Monday.

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