More than 40 people were on hand Friday to witness the dedication and ceremonial opening of the U.S. 131 Constantine bypass.
Several local residents, village, township, county and state officials joined in the ceremony at the south end of the new bridge spanning the St. Joseph River. Those in attendance witnessed a ceremony by the Constantine Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 35, as well as brief speeches by a number of dignitaries.
Though traffic on the 4.9-mile bypass won’t be on the roadway until the end of the month, Friday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting ensured the celebration took place in sunny weather. Construction on the $18 million bypass started earlier this year and follows what some area residents claim is the culmination of decades of talk regarding the bypass.
Among the speakers were Constantine village manager Mark Honeysett, village president Patricia Weiss, former State Sen. Cameron Brown, former State Rep. Rick Shafer, State Rep. Matt Lori, State Sen. Bruce Caswell and former Constantine village president Ken Oates.
A summer-long project in the village of Centreville finished last week.
Thanks to a state grant of more than $400,000 awarded last fall, the installation of sidewalks along the village’s busiest streets leading to Centreville Elementary and Centreville Jr./Sr. High schools has been completed.
The $416,000 Michigan Department of Transportation grant was one of six issued to Michigan communities as part of its Safe Routes to School initiative.
Chris Sheteron, a former village council member and key figure in the 2009 establishment of the village’s Safe Routes to School Committee, said the sidewalks give school kids on the west side of the village a safer way to get to school.
The majority of the sidewalks run parallel to West Railroad and Charlotte streets.
Crews from the St. Joseph County Road Commission this week started work on a $100,000 upgrade of the Langley Covered Bridge.
The task, slated to take two weeks to complete, focuses on replacing the upper portion of the bridge’s two-layer deck.
Chris Minger, director of operations, said the bridge has a two-part floor, and the structure is at a point where its condition requires the removal and replacement of oak planks.
Minger said a few additional odd jobs will be done while the bridge is closed. Some of that work includes replacing cross-piece stabilizers, as well as duties that can be performed only from under the 300-foot-long bridge.
Minger said the Langley Covered Bridge averages between 1,700 and 2,000 vehicles a day. Its detour has traffic heading about a mile east to Angevine Road.
The Michigan Department of Transportation announced it has updated information on its website regarding the safety of 4,422 state highway bridges.
State bridge information can be downloaded by route number and/or county, and are current as of Aug. 30.
Only highway bridges greater than 20 feet in length are included; ratings for pedestrian, railroad and locally owned bridges are not included.
National Bridge Inspection Standards require MDOT to inspect bridges every two years.
Of the 4,422 bridges included in the Aug. 30 report, 269 are classified with the engineering term of structurally deficient, meaning they may require rehabilitation or replacement at some time in the future.
The website can be found at: michigan.gov/highwaybridgereport.
The Michigan Department of Transportation Southwest Region is holding informational open houses at each of its three Transportation Service Centers this week.
MDOT’s Nick Schirripa said TSC staff will be present at each location to discuss project selection, transportation funding, construction projects and other issues.
Whether it’s highway and bridge conditions, project types, traffic signals and speed limits, snow removal or clearing crashes and debris, there is more to MDOT’s daily workload than patching potholes, Schirripa said.
Each TSC serves three counties in southwestern Michigan; the Kalamazoo TSC serves Allegan, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties.
The open houses are 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Kalamazoo Region’s center is located at 5372 S. 9th St., Kalamazoo.
A road project in the village of Centreville is progressing toward its completion date of Saturday next week.
Nick Schirripa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Southwest Region, said crews over the past six weeks have been working on East Main Street and creating what will eventually be a three-lane roadway through a majority of the village.
The road currently varies from two lanes to four. Schirripa said the reconfiguration will make a consistent pattern of one lane in both directions and a center-turn lane.
Schirripa said the $500,000 project will eliminate confusion for motorists who aren’t familiar with the route and where two lanes merge into one.