KALAMAZOO, Mich. — There’s apparently plenty of steel available to replace the Stadium Drive bridges over US-131 this year. The bridge was scheduled for replacement in 2014, but the steel wasn’t available.
Construction on the project will begin Monday, March 30. Ground is already torn up from last year’s work on the interchange. Improvements were made on Stadium Drive and Drake Road west of the interchange.
One lane of traffic will be maintained on Stadium Drive as the new bridge is built one half at a time. These ramps will remain open:
- Southbound US-131 to westbound Stadium Drive
- Northbound US-131 to eastbound Stadium Drive
- Westbound Stadium Drive to northbound US-131
- Eastbound Stadium Drive to southbound US-131
The bridge could not be built in 2014 because of the demand for steel for construction of the monstrous new Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River in New York state.
The first closure will be the loop ramps, as those ramps will not be part of the completed interchange. And lane closures on US-131 can be expected.
“It’s going to be a whole new interchange: a SPUI, a ‘Single Point Urban Interchange’ similar to M-6 and Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids or I-94 and Westnedge here in Kalamazoo,” said MDOT Southwest Region spokesperson Nick Schirripa.
The weave-merge lanes that currently exist will also be eliminated. Those lanes forced drivers entering and leaving US-131 to share one lane, which led to fender benders.
“It’s going to be a lot smoother, a lot more efficient, a lot safer when we’re done,” said Schirripa.
Construction will last the entire season. The entire two-year project will cost a total of $23.5 million.