Traverse City News and Events

City Commission Approves MDOT Bridge Repair, TART Engineering Contracts

By Beth Milligan | Nov. 22, 2022

Traverse City commissioners voted Monday to authorize a funding contract with the state to proceed with two bridge repair projects in downtown Traverse City in 2023 on North Cass Street and South Union Street. Commissioners also approved a contract for engineering and design services for the expansion of the TART Trail in dowtown Traverse City.

Traverse City is nearing the finish line of a multi-year project to rehabilitate or replace multiple aging bridges in the downtown area. The city has already completed work on the Park Street, South Cass Street, East Eighth Street, and West Front Street bridges since 2021. The last two major bridge projects are the rehabilitation of the South Union Street and North Cass Street projects, set to take place next year. The South Union Street bridge is estimated to cost $1.7 million, while the North Cass Street bridge is estimated to cost $1.185 million.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is covering 90 percent of the project costs through the Local Bridge Program, contributing $2.6 million toward the project. The city is responsible for a 10 percent match – or $291,450 – plus engineering and inspections, estimated at $221,400. The city’s total is therefore just over a half million dollars, which will be covered by tax increment financing (TIF) funds through the Downtown Development Authority. Commissioners approved authorizing an agreement with MDOT to proceed with the project Monday. MDOT is accepting construction bids through December 2 and will soon choose a contractor to oversee the projects next year.

Commissioners also voted 5-1 - with Commissioner Mark Wilson absent and Commissioner Tim Werner in opposition - to hire Progressive AE to oversee engineering and design services to expand and improve the TART Trail between West End Beach and the intersection of Garfield Avenue/Peninsula Drive. Project partners including the city, DDA, and TART Trails are looking to make trail improvements in conjunction with the 2024 Grandview Parkway reconstruction project to avoid duplicating traffic disruptions and tearing up the same area twice. A conceptual design – created with input from community members and businesses along the corridor – shows the trail more than doubling in width in areas to 16 feet, with 10 feet dedicated to bidirectional bicycle use and six feet dedicated to pedestrian use. The trail alignment could shift in some areas and would also expand down past Delamar, Sunset Park, the Traverse City Senior Center, and NMC’s Great Lakes Campus to the Peninsula Drive intersection.

The project partners each contributed $150,000 toward engineering costs for the redesign, covering Progressive AE's contract bid of $448,391. The project partners will still need to separately fundraise to pay for the trail reconstruction itself. While an official cost estimate will come after engineering, the expansion is likely to cost in the millions of dollars.

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