Construction season about to start

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP – Construction work on M-26 from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Dollar Bay should start soon, and representatives of the Michigan Department of Transportation conducted an informational meeting about the project Thursday.

At the MDOT Houghton garage near the Houghton County Memorial Airport, Al Anderson, MDOT project engineer, presented details of the planned work on M-26.

Anderson said the $6.7 million project will include a combination of resurfacing and reconstruction of M-26 for approximately 3 miles from the north end of the lift bridge east to 6th Street in Dollar Bay.

Much of the work on M-26 will involve straightening out the road, Anderson said. It includes filling in some dips and leveling some elevations.

There will be some center left-turn lanes added in various locations, also, Anderson said.

Anderson said the project will include construction of culverts and storm water sewers for drainage.

Traffic flow during the work will be controlled by workers with flags, Anderson said. There will be temporary widening of the shoulders, also, to help with traffic flow. If there is any stoppage of traffic during the day, it will be generally for 10 minutes or less with occasional longer delays. Work in the morning will start at 8 a.m. after the morning rush. The largest-impact work will be done during low traffic hours.

“We’re going to be doing that at night,” he said.

Anderson said some utility poles will be moved during the construction, and the Upper Peninsula Power Company, AT&T and Charter Communications will be responsible for moving their individual wires.

Some sections of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recreational trail next to M-26 will be moved slightly to the south, Anderson said. The shoulders of the road will be widened enough to accommodate foot and bicycle traffic.

Home and business owners along the construction route have been informed of what will be happening during construction, Anderson said, and all of them will have access to their driveways during the work.

The construction on M-26 is expected to start soon at the north end of the lift bridge, Anderson said.

“We’re hoping to start at the end of April,” he said. “It’s going to go until late October. It’s going to be a lot of work there.”