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Posted on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Summer closure of Ford Boulevard bridge will require 7-mile detour in Ypsilanti Township

By Tom Perkins


The Ford Boulevard bridge over Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township will close for most of spring and summer. | For

Ypsilanti Township residents can plan for a 7-mile-detour this summer as the Washtenaw County Road Commission rebuilds a main connection between the township’s north and south ends.

The 180-foot-long, 70-year-old Ford Boulevard bridge that spans East Michigan Avenue is deteriorating and in need of a total rebuild, a road commission official said.

Depending on when bids are awarded, construction could begin as soon as April, though the complete closure may not happen right away. Kelly Jones, a bridge engineer with the Road Commission, said work would likely be completed sometime in August.

“The whole bridge, overall, is old and deteriorating,” Jones said.

Motorists headed southbound on North Ford Boulevard across the bridge to South Ford Boulevard will instead be routed eastbound on Holmes Road. The detour then runs east along East Michigan Avenue.

The detour next cuts back west along the U.S. 12 connector. Motorists are then directed to exit at the Ecorse Road exit, which runs into South Ford Blvd.

Around 12,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. East Michigan Avenue will not be impacted or see any closures.

Jones said a seven-mile detour seems long but is actually short for a bridge rebuild. The bridge crosses over a high-speed railroad line running next to East Michigan Avenue. That rail line is the one of the reasons there are so few places to cross from the north end of the township into the south end.

The Road Commission also can’t demolish the bridge and build an at-grade intersection because of safety concerns with the rail lines, Jones said.

“The railroad companies would never allow it since it’s a high speed line,” she said.

Another concern created by the project is its impact on emergency responders. The Ypsilanti Township Fire Department’s main station sits just south of the bridge, and Fire Chief Eric Copeland said he expects a two to three minute delay in response time to the north end of the township while the bridge is out.

But he said the Superior Township Fire Department, which borders the township to the north, will provide automatic assistance in the event of a structure fire.

“This is a measure that will help us get better coverage,” Copeland said.

Copeland also said Huron Valley Ambulance will position one of its units north of the bridge during construction to keep down response times to medical emergencies.


Nancy Corfman

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

With the detour of cars down Holmes Rd., I certainly hope the WCSO is going to be prepared to be writing a lot of speeding tickets down Holmes. I live near Holmes Rd., and there's hardly anyone that obeys the 30 mph speed limit. It's going to be a nightmare and a road race!


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Both bridges were built around 1977 when Ford Blvd was widened from two to four lanes.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

It is funny. the detour they have, Most of us will use Ecorse east and west.. then turn up by McD's.. why would anyone go all the way down to the bypass.. shesh. They used Apples maps?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

The bridge being replaced is over the railroad, which is just to the south of the Michigan Ave bridge you have shown in the picture and referenced in the article.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

A map of the area here would be good.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

why can't they rebuild half of the bridge at a time? it's either 3 or 4 lanes, with rather wide shoulders, via google earth. i can't remember for sure, it's been a long time since i've driven over it. as for harris road, harris road isn't built to handle, "Around 12,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily."

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

half at a time, meaning shift traffic to one lane in each direction with use of the shoulder...i can see some smart allec responding with which half, north or south?!?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

I remain baffled why Ford rd and Michigan ave don't connect. You can't tell me they couldn't have an at-grade intersection, and then simply ramp up Ford rd to get up above the railroad tracks. The slope would not be that severe. Two of the biggest roads in Ypsi, cross with no connection. Just stupid.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Technically, it's in Ypsi Township.

Dan r OBryan

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

they repaved that bridge ,with in the last three years . changed it from two lanes to one .why didnt they correct issues with the bridge at that time. oh just waste time .money ;


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

They resurfaced it.. different then repaving.. . This bridge has been hit underneath on Michigan ave. many times, by trucks with to high of loads. if you really look underneath you can see the deterioration. Besides, my Dad put in that bridge when it was built.. It's old folks.. that was way back in the late 40's . Bomber plant years.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

I stand corrected....again

Julia Herbst

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Actually TDW, They repaved most of the bridge also within the last two years. When doing this they took it down from 4 lanes to 2 lanes which makes it INCREDIBLY dangerous for motorist, for emergency vehicles(That now have to use the turn lane as an emergency lane because there is no side of the road for people to pull off to), and even more dangerous for the RESIDENTS whose driveways pull out onto Ford Blvd.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Dan....I think they repaved the road before and after the bridge not the bridge itself


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

This is going to be a nightmare for some who know how to cut thru. There is a street that is already a cut thru and this is an accident waiting to happen. I am glad this bridge is being rebuilt and I really hope that that it has ramps getting us off at that bridge. Otherwise, Prospect is the next street that is a cut thru for anyone trying to get to Michigan. What a mess what a nightmare. Guess I'll be out writing tickets this summer. Neighborhood Watch.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

I don't know the area but if the cut-thrus are residential, it'd be wise for them to block off those areas to thru traffic as A2 did when the Stadium bridge was rebuilt. Otherwise folks will just fly thru.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

I think you mean Ecorse.There are plenty of streets that connect to Michigan ave.In fact,if you wanted to get to Michigan from north of the bridge you wouldn't use Ford anyway


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

It'd be nice if some steps were put in so one could go from Michigan Avenue to Ford Rd. by foot.

Cory C

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

FWIW, I too am all in support of re-opening Harris road. It would seriously be a matter of paving a couple hundred feet of road to re-connect it per the original plans.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Seems like now would be a good time to connect both sides of Harris Rd and include a railroad crossing. That would make too much sense, I suppose.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

An at grade crossing at Harris would make a lot of sense. It would reconnect the neighborhoods with the commercial areas. There is only one problem and that is the railroad requires a permit to construct across the tracks. That will not happen unless MDOT can close the deal with CN for the tracks between Dearborn and Kalamazoo. If the sale occurs, then reconnection is viable.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

There are a lot of parks with roads that pass by them. If you throw in the right amount of bumpiness on the railroad crossing and with the traffic light and the stop sign that shortly follows on either side, there's not much time to get up to 30 mph much less past it.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

That would be a nightmare what with a park in that area. Speeders and children do not mix unless the Sheriffs dept does a patrol in that area. The speed limit is 30 I think. Good luck with that one.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Good luck with that detour.I'd have to say most people using Ford to Ecorse already know the area and can cut that 7 miles in at least half