Road work halts for holiday weekend

RIPLEY – Construction on M-26 between Hancock and Dollar Bay will be taking a breather for the Fourth of July, and one lane will be open in each direction throughout the holiday weekend.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, MJO Contracting road construction workers will be off the roadway by 3 p.m. Thursday, and will return to work at 6 a.m. Monday.

Al Anderson, construction engineer at MDOT’s Ishpeming Transportation Service Center, said the project is on schedule and should be completed in late October as planned.

“We’re currently working on storm sewers, water main placement, excavating water mains, excavating the new road grade, and placing sand and gravel,” Anderson said. He said curb and gutter work would begin next week in the part of the project running through Ripley.

Anderson said lane closures would resume after the Fourth.

“Later in the project we’ll see some asphalt paving, and those closures will be a bit longer,” he said, adding that some of those closures would occur on the eastern end of the project near Dollar Bay, which has been less affected so far.

Anderson said there have been some significant traffic backups and recommended drivers consider bypassing the construction by circling around it using US-41. Most drivers, he said, have adjusted well to construction delays.

“People have been patient and it’s appreciated,” he said.