GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Several highway projects this year will affect thousands of drivers, but the biggest and most expensive one will not cause a single lane closure.
The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to build the sixth longest bridge in the state as part of the years-long M-231 project. When it is built, there will be no highway connecting it to other roads, because M-231 is being constructed as funds become available, rather than as a continuous project. Only 1.4 miles of the highway will be built in 2013.
The bridge will be about 3,700 feet long and 47 feet above the water. Another bridge will also be built over Little Robinson Creek that will be 548 feet long and 30 feet over the water.
In addition, a new ramp will be built from eastbound I-96 to 112th Avenue in Nunica.
All the work is being done in Robinson and Crockery townships in Ottawa County. The Grand River bridge is only the fourth span over the river in the county. The others cross the river at M-45/Lake Michigan Drive near Grand Valley State University, 68th Avenue near Eastmanville, and US-31 between Grand Haven and Spring Lake/Ferrysburg.
In 2012, major work was done on northern end of M-231 where it will meet I-96 in Nunica. The 112th Avenue bridge over I-96 was replaced by a wider bridge, new ramps were built, and I-96 was widened. A new bridge was built over North Cedar Drive as well.
The latest estimate is that the current plan for M-231 to run from Lake Michigan Drive to I-96 could be finished by 2016 if there is money for it.