Short-term fix on Ann Arbor's East Stadium bridge scheduled to begin
The Ann Arbor City Council agreed Monday night to take emergency action to address safety concerns with the East Stadium Boulevard bridge over South State Street.
Bridge work is now scheduled to take place Nov. 15-17, city officials announced today.
An engineering firm warned the city last monthÂ it's possible - though not likely - that "football sized" concrete could fall from the bridge, injuring anyone below.
The City Council approved, in a 7-0 vote, spending up to $100,000 to remove five damaged beams and up to $340,000 to have DTE Energy relocate power lines as part of a bridge replacement project.
Northwest Consultants Inc. inspected the bridge Sept. 15 and recommended, as one option, removing the five southernmost beams that are deteriorating.
"They no longer serve their function, they represent a safety concern for traffic on State Street, they require excessive attention from maintenance crews, and if left in place they could tempt someone who doesn’t know better to drive over them," NCI Bridge Project Manager Jon Drummond wrote in his inspection letter. “The advantages to this course of action are improved safety and a reduction in maintenance efforts.”
City officials said due to the critical condition of the beams, they should be removed in November because they could become unstable during freezing weather. They expressed concerns that pieces of concrete could fall onto passing vehicles or pedestrians traveling along South State Street.
South State Street will be closed to traffic while the beam removal work is performed. A detour will be in effect during that time, and the alternate route is noted at www.a2gov.org/stadiumbridges.
Homayoon Pirooz, manager of the city's project management unit, said after the demolition is complete, a portion of the bridge deck will no longer exist. City officials say a concrete barrier will need to be installed to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from entering the "gap" in the bridge deck on the south side of the bridge.
City officials said the DTE Energy power lines need to be temporarily relocated underground to allow for safe demolition and construction of a new bridge span over the railroad tracks. Once the bridge has been reconstructed, DTE will replace the lines above ground.
Ann Arbor officials laid out plans in August for a $22.1 million reconstruction of the two East Stadium Boulevard bridge spans over South State Street and the nearby railroad tracks.
The city is now seeking state and federal funding to make that project happen, city engineer Michael Nearing told council members Monday night.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529.