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Posted on Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Officials plan for detours, football traffic before Stadium bridge reconstruction this fall

By Tom Perkins


Traffic moves along Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor, looking toward the bridge over South State Street, last week. The road will be closed down beginning next fall as work begins on a long-awaited bridge rebuilding project.

Lon Horwedel |

During each home football game this fall at the University of Michigan, upwards of 110,000 fans will converge on the Big House. But in 2011, one of the main arteries to the stadium will be closed.

Officials expect to begin reconstruction of the East Stadium Boulevard bridge this fall after an initial planned spring start, and that means some football fans and the approximately 25,000 drivers using the bridge daily will have to seek alternate routes.

Homayoon Pirooz, head of the city’s project management department, said the official detour will take westbound Stadium traffic to southbound South Industrial Highway. From there, drivers will travel west on Eisenhower Boulevard, then back north on Main Street. Eastbound Stadium traffic would take the same route, but in reverse order.

The intersection at Main and Stadium will remain open, but the lanes to the east will be available only to local traffic. Construction will start at the intersection of Stadium and Kipke Drive, which is a campus road.


From left to right, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Congressman John Dingell, Mayor John Hieftje, Homayoon Pirooz and Council Member Margie Teall inspect the Stadium bridge above State Street in Ann Arbor last May.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Pirooz said officials hope to keep one lane of State Street open throughout most of the project, but the road may totally close while the old bridge is torn down.

A State detour would likely take northbound traffic east on Stimson Street, north on South Industrial and east on Stadium. The detour would then take traffic north on Packard Road and west on Granger Street.

Pirooz said more specific dates and closure schedules will be provided after the city holds a public meeting on the issue and has a schedule from a contractor. He said the detours reroute traffic through major city roads which can handle the increased volume.

He added that Stadium, in that area, sees more through traffic, and officials are expecting a significant portion of the 25,000 drivers to use alternate east-west routes, such as Interstate 94.

U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said multiple departments are working on managing traffic and crowds for the Saturday football games and other sporting events in the area. Crisler Arena, Yost Ice Arena and most of the school's other athletic fields are in the area.

Fitzgerald said it’s too early to provide specifics on alternate routes, but Michigan football season ticket holders will likely be notified of suggestions when their tickets are mailed.

“The university is working with the city and keeping up to date on the situation,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re in the process of reviewing a number of potential alternate routes that we would suggest to athletic patrons and season ticket holders. Once those routes are solidified, we will vigorously communicate those suggestions.”

While there are no major parking lots east of the Stadium bridge, some fans and pedestrians still approach the stadium from that direction. Fitzgerald said the university will take them into account.

Ann Arbor Transit Authority officials say they can’t yet provide plans for managing their bus lines during construction but are looking at options.

Along Stadium, the closure will affect Route 14, which runs from Geddes Road to a park-and-ride lot at Pioneer High School.

Ron Copeland, an official with the AATA, said the main stop affected along Route 14 would be at the park-and-ride lot west of the bridge.

The 6 and 36 routes would also be affected along State. Copeland said buses on those routes would likely use the posted detour, though officials are waiting until a closure schedule is provided by the city to offer further plans.

The area around the Stadium bridge is largely residential, with U-M property to the north. A golf course occupies much of the land to the southwest, and just southeast of the area is the Produce Station.

Andy Gorsuch, a general manger there, said the store has strong customer loyalty, but the construction could have an impact on their business.

“Obviously we’re understanding that it’s necessary to fix the bridge, because it’s not in good shape,” he said. “We’re definitely concerned how that will affect our business, but we don’t have any kind of contingency plan other than to keep doing what we do — taking care of people and thanking them when they do come here.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at 734-623-2530 or


Daniel Schuetz

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

That road has been under constant construction since I first moved to Ann Arbor in 1992. It won't make a bit of difference in attendance at the Big House.


Tue, Mar 1, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

Lets get back to earth! Road construction is one thing, The road being closed is another!


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

Good grief, people.... STOP WHINING. If you read the linked article, you'll see that the scope of this project means the football traffic would be affected for at least one season if not two. This was going to happen regardless of when the contruction started. This is a huge project. You don't just tear down a couple bridges and throw up new ones during the summer.


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 1:09 a.m.

Your right but only because work is not done the way it used to be. It used to be that when there was a road project they manned the project to get it done. Now if you pay attention to these things some jobs even on the freeways have skeleton crews that don't appear to be accomplishing anything for weeks. I ran construction crews for over 30 years so I do notice these things. Even on smaller house jobs crews jump around to make different clients happy for a few days.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

The issue isn't that the bridge is collapsing or that it is mostly being funded by federal dollars because the city can't pay for it's own infrastructure up to and including a little bridge or that the great U of M can build and build and build massive buildings including a indoor practice field for one small aspect of the whole U of M but not want to contribute a dime to it's main corridor to that big whole they call the big house. Nope. What everybody is concerned more about is the impact the road and project is going to have on 7 Saturday's this fall. I shake my head.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

Five years from now when the bridge is complete and the great recession is but a tear in a wall street bankers eye , when we're all fat and happy again, we'll all look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

I doubt it -- that bridge has been a bone of contention in the neighborhood for over 80 years...

David Briegel

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

Don't forget we have to close Main St during events at the Stadium. Right Mary Sue? Main and Stadium closed on game day. Oy

Sandra Samons

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I shouldn't even read this stuff. I just get angry all over again! The priorities of the planners are so shortsighted. The bridge project has been left on the back burner while lots of $ have been spent on "pet"projects that half the citizens don't even want, allowing this to reach this deplorable point. And, BTW, I agree that we probably don't even need teh bridges anymore. But why consider such an innovative and cost effective idea when you don't know how to regroup and consider changing course?


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

Contruction should be underway now. Typical Ann Arbor planning.


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 12:46 a.m.

Yes, because YOU are the expert on planning for roads and construction. Tell us about your experience and education that makes you even somewhat able to converse intelligently about this?


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 4 p.m.

They are also forgetting Bus 7 that also goes to the Park and Ride at Pioneer. We use AATA to get to and from there. Going to be hell on earth for all involved. Stimson and S Industrial was not made for that kind of traffic congestion. Might want to think about State to get around there. 25,000 or more cars getting to work on a two lane street? OMG what are these people thinking. Remind me not to visit Ann Arbor until this project is done. This is going to be a suicidal nightmare. Good luck Ann Arbor. Glad I do not live near you.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

When they're done, they should rename this stretch "Rodriguez Road". After all, it was Coach Rod who launched us into the modern era and it will be Coach Rod whom is looked fondly upon when we start winning national titles with a dynamic, swashbuckling offense. Progress on modern bridge construction, progress on modernizing our gridiron heroes. Coincidence? You tell me...


Tue, Mar 1, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

Oh My Gosh! You are so right! It's a bumpy, dangerous ride over that bridge. All they need to do is burn it and it would be more than fitting to name it after your savior.

Edward Vielmetti

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

The story has been corrected to reflect that it's AATA Route 14, not route 24, that is affected by this construction. There are also a number of Ann Arbor Public Schools bus routes affected.<a href=""></a>


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

This is on Dingell, Da Mayor, and MDOT. The bureaucracy is so stifling we can't even get a bridge repaired in a timely fashion to avoid a disaster this Fall. Gotta fill out some more forms, blah, blah blah. And Atlas shrugged!


Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

Give me a break. How in the hell is John Dingell responsible for the DATES? If you want to get down to nuts and bolts it is the fault of every moron driving on the bridge. If less people drove on it, it would last longer. Get a fricking clue


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Your reply is far from Randian.

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

So can you update us on the House not including Tiger II funds for this project in the budget just approved in Washington and how this major shortfall in funds promised during the Mayor's reelection campaign is going to impact the City's budget?

John B.

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

DDOT: Some folks would blame the sun shining during the day (or indeed the darkness at night) on the Mayor....


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Federal dollars aren't a part of the city's budget, so it won't have any impact. The mayor never promised these funds from the FEDERAL or STATE governments would be forthcoming during his reelection campaign, so you really can't besmirch him for a non sequitur.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

"The university is working with the city and keeping up to date on the situation," If the university had worked with the city in the first place they could have kept the disruptions to a minimum.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

This story doesn't say when Stadium will be closed and the bridge taken down. Has the actual start date been announced?

zip the cat

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

So your going to start in the fall. So what happens when winter comes? I'll tell you what happens! The project will sit mothballed like all other concrete work does in winter. I doubt that using chemicals to inhance drying of concrete in cold weather is allowed using federal monies. I could be wrong. Wrong time of the year to start a major reconstruction project like this. This bridge project has been a first class mismanaged farce from day one

John B.

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

We could start earlier if you have an extra $15 Million to donate to the project.... ;-)

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

There aren't many options for a detour. I understand. But that sure will create a mess where Main and Ann Arbor Saline Rd merge in front of Bush's. As the project stands now I believe that in a previous article sited a November 2012 completion. That time frame will impact two seasons of football when only one is necessary for the physical construction. Its unfortunate that the &quot;politics&quot; of money/funding gets in the way of logical planning.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Reconsider the idea of no bridges at all and save many millions. An intersection at Stadium and State would be no more complex than many other crossings, and since train traffic is almost non-existent now compared to when the bridge was built (one train at 2am is usually about it) there is no need of a big bridge over the tracks but gates would suffice for the very rare daytime train. Back to the drawing board, planners!


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:37 p.m.

I so 100% agree with this -- but my understanding is that is not an option because the Ann Arbor Railway will not permit a non-overpass easement....I think it's worth the good fight to tear down that entire monstrosity and have it all leveled with normal intersections - but apparently this is another instance of city departments not playing well with others.

John B.

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

Kinda late for that now. That was considered, though, and rejected.


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

it is going to be a mess no matter what, but it needs to get done. That whole road needs work, right in front of Crisler is terrible as well. Need to get started ASAP, seems like someone dropped the ball on this one. Not starting till fall is unacceptable, needs to start this spring and get it done!

Susan Montgomery

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

Ahem... &quot;Andy Gorsuch, a general manger there, &quot;


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

That sure is a long detour route to the south. More likely drivers will find shorter routes to the north which means extra traffic congestion will be felt just about everywhere around campus and downtown. I would predict State, Packard, Main and Washtenaw/Jackson will be impacted the greatest.

Blu n Tpa

Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

Why can't the bulk of this work be done during the summer? That's like closing roads to the beach during spring break in FLA. The project manager should have this ready to go as soon as school lets out. They rebuilt Michigan Stadium around football games and you're tell us this is their BEST plan? Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Feb 28, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Whoa, spoke just like a government employee. Local covernments shift monies between projects all the time but you're telling me this is special. Please, bad management from whatever the source is the same. If the Feds are putting a time limit on this it's because the local government has drug it's feet getting this project started. (It stated a &quot;planned spring start&quot; right in the story/caption.) Who's the contractor on this project? Donald Duck and Sons?


Sun, Feb 27, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

The bulk of the financing for this project is coming from the federal government, as well as some from the state. Do you think they can be TOLD when to give us the money so this project can be started when it's most appropriate? Or do you think they're the dog wagging the tail here?