Downtown Fenton construction aims to update Silver Lake bridge

Ellie Bennett, Writer

Construction has taken place, the Silver Lake Rd has been shut down for the time being but car and truck detour routes have been set. On Jan. 25 construction started on the Silver Lake bridge. The bridge is being repaired because of the poor condition. Businesses are getting blocked off by the work and now the community has to go out of their way to get to places like Tim Horton’s and Fenton Vision Center.

“It has affected it a little bit,” manger of Tim Horton’s Amelia Smith said. “It’s more of the fact that people have to drive out of their way to get here because of the road detours. Business is really slow – we use to be full to the rim and now not so much. The other Tim Hortons on Owen Road has picked up business. This Tim Hortons use to have more business, but now the two have evened out.”

The construction has been moving along even with a few setbacks that occurred at the beginning, and the construction team is on schedule now.

“Utility issues that were out of the control of the city and the contractor caused a few setbacks at the beginning,” Director of Public Works Dan Czarnecki said. “Those have since been resolved. The construction company is Davis Construction, Inc., from Lansing Michigan. The contractor has completed the installation of the new water-main. Now he is concentrating on removing the old bridge and preparing the area for the new installation. If you have been by the site, you can see the new bridge culvert assembled on the east side of the bridge. This culvert will be installed at the river crossing, and the street will be constructed above it. When completed the bridge will be very similar to the bridge over the river on Leroy St.”

The last time the bridge was reconstructed was in 1952. So with a budget of $1 million and an engineering cost of about $350,000 the project is estimated to be done as soon as possible.

“In 2007 MDOT [Michigan Department of Transportation] gave the business route to the City, including the bridge,” Czarnecki said. “It was discovered the bridge was in failing repair when the city received it. It was degraded to a point that weight restrictions were set on the bridge. We had the old bridge in this location inspected every year in accordance with MDOT requirements. Through MDOT’s bridge appraisal process the bridge rated a 20 out of 100 and qualified for bridge replacement funds.”

Truck and car detour routes have been set to help the general public get through the downtown of Fenton.

“The city have set the truck detour to utilize North Road as that is currently a truck route,” Czarnecki said. “The intersections on North Rd. are also a little larger to accommodate trucks easier. The detour route for cars and other local traffic is utilizing Leroy, Shiawassee and Adelaide streets. This keeps the car traffic in the downtown area and maybe some of the people will see a store or restaurants along the detour route and stop in or keep it in mind and come back at a later date and visit the area.”

It is anticipated to have the street “open to traffic” and substantially completed by July 1. The full project completion is going to be in Sept. 2016.