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Posted on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ford Boulevard bridge to close Wednesday for 5-month-long rebuild

By Amy Biolchini

Drivers that travel the Ford Boulevard bridge over East Michigan Avenue regularly as a part of their commute through Ypsilanti Township will be detoured beginning Wednesday as the Washtenaw County Road Commission will be closing the road for five months.

The bridge closure marks the beginning of the $2.6 million reconstruction project that will last until August, which will require a seven-mile detour.


The Ford Boulevard bridge over East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township will close Wednesday for a nearly five-month-long replacement project by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. file photo

The county has awarded the project to the lowest bidder for the work -- Davis Construction, based in Lansing -- which will complete the project for $2.6 million. That's significantly less than the Road Commission anticipated the project would cost several months ago when they floated a $3.15 million figure as an estimate.

The contractor will begin mobilizing equipment to the site Wednesday and removal of the bridge will begin soon afterward, said Kelly Jones, bridge project manager for the Road Commission.

Spanning both East Michigan Avenue and a set of Northfolk-Southern railroad tracks, the Ford Boulevard bridge is 70 years old and will be completely rebuilt in the project.

About 12,000 vehicles use the bridge each day, according to the road commission.

The following detour will be posted:

  • Drivers southbound on North Ford Boulevard: Turn left on to Holmes Road; continue on to eastbound East Michigan Avenue; take the U.S. 12 connector west; exit at Ecorse Road to connect to South Ford Boulevard

The reverse detour will be in effect for drivers northbound on South Ford Boulevard.

The Ypsilanti Township Fire Department’s main route from its station at 222 S. Ford Blvd. to the northern third of the township uses the Ford Boulevard Bridge.

Response times will be increased by two to three minutes because of the closure, said Ypsilanti Township Fire Chief Eric Copeland in a previous interview with

To respond to structure fires in the northern part of Ypsilanti Township, Superior Township fire units will be automatically deployed to assist due to a temporary automatic aid agreement.

View Ford Boulevard bridge detour in a larger map

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


George Clay

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

well the bridges are not 70 years old the were replaced around 1970


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Ill drive down any side street I want that's what they re for....


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Here is a warning to all who try to use the neighborhoods as a cut thru. Washtenaw County Sheriff is out looking for you. We will be complaining and calling to get you folks out of our area. So, no, don't even think about it. Thank you. Use the detours.


Wed, Apr 17, 2013 : 4:58 a.m.

What do you mean...There is not even a neighborhood to cut thru. Michigan Ave to Ecorse is not residential.

Honest Abe

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

jns131- Go ahead! Call! I can 'use the neighborhoods as a cut thru' all I want! I think you're mistaken and confusing this with the law that prohibits you from cutting through private property to avoid a traffic signal/device. Sorry, the neighborhood roads may be cluttered with traffic, but please don't forget - My tax dollars went towards those neighborhood roads! There is no law that says the 'neighborhoods' roads you talk about, have a limit on how much traffic may drive on them. Your comment is has no validity or meaning to any driver or reader of this article! I advise you to also keep in mind - Those roads belong to me, too! Don't forget that!!!

Cory C

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

With the amount of robberies and attempted murders in Ypsilanti Township, I highly doubt this. Also, public roads mean public. It's not illegal to circumvent a detour (though it is illegal to circumvent a traffic control device, a detour sign does not fall into this category which would include traffic lights and stop signs)


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

Is there a law that says I cannot drive down a side street? Must have missed that one.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Yeah, good luck. Let us know how that works out for you!

Honest Abe

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

It would be nice if Harris Road continued going South, when you cross Michigan Avenue. You could just drive over the tracks and your now on that side of town. Otherwise you have the bridge, which you have to go out of your way, then cross OR you have to go to Michigan Ave and turn onto Ecorse. This would also help cut the time down for Emergency responses too!


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

The detour makes me laugh. All people have to do is drive up Ecorse to michigan ave. and there you are. LOt closer than the stated route.

Cory C

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Yep. And for all the "side street" arguments, Michigan Ave is the only place to cross the railroad tracks. All the other side streets end. Now, whether you go east or west to get to a crossing is up to you!


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

I will make sure you get a ticket if you do. Neighborhood Watch is all over the Sheriff dept to make sure you do not cut thru our streets. They are well aware of this and they have told us to call if we see more then normal traffic.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

slave.....yea me too.There's a lot of side streets you can cut down too

Cory C

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Why can't they open up the stretch of Harris that blocks connection to michigan ave? Seems like that would save a lot of people a lot of time and money over the coming summer.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

If you walk by the tracks, Tom is correct.. they are lower. The RR would never give right of way for the road to be finished when it was 1st put in. Thats why it never was completed

Cory C

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

No, the railroad tracks are at the same level (if not slightly elevated). The only problem would be putting in a stop sign with a railroad warning. Would it be slower than the bridge? Yes. Would it avoid an extra 14-mile-a-day drive for someone who lives north of ford road and uses the highway? yes. 14 miles a day, that's 2.5 gallons a week, 10 gallons a month, 50 gallons over 5 months. At $4/gallon (gas is expected to go higher than that over the summer) we're talking $200 per person who travels that road. 12,000 cars/day ( don't know if that's one-way or two way) = $2.4 million lost. Not to mention the damage environmentally. All because they couldn't pave 30 feet and put in some stop signs?

Tom Perkins

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Those are high speed rail lines and the train companies that own the tracks/state won't go for it for safety reasons.

1982 Brew Crew

Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

I think the answer is that it would need a bridge at the railroad tracks? Do I understand correctly that the RR tracks are not on the same level as Harris Street at this location?


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Someone needs to check their info, these bridges were rebuilt in the late 70's. which would make the approx. 35 years old.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

That should have been square collumns.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I don't know who "our data" is but the original bridges were only 2 lanes and had suare collumns and no steel girders. So I suggest you check your sources.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Not according to our data. It may have been rebuffed, but not rebuilt. This is a complete tear down and redo.


Tue, Apr 16, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

Apparently there wasn't enough money in the budget to provide a trebuchet so that we could be flung across the gap.