Residents downstream are stuck in traffic as the bridge construction obstructs Telegraph Road

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River residents are dealing with headache-inducing traffic congestion this summer as bridges in Taylor and Trenton undergo multimillion-dollar repairs at the same time.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is replacing two bridges on US 24, or Telegraph Road, just north of Eureka Road in Taylor, as part of the $18.5 million project.

At the same time, the state is paying to repair four bridges on the nearby connector that connects Interstate 75 to Telegraph. The agency has closed the northbound section of the I-75 connector and expects to reopen it in the fall. The southern side of the connector will be closed next year.

“Telegraph is very bad,” said Taylor resident Lorraine Hattie. “If you turn off Eureka Road, it becomes one lane and takes almost a mile. There’s always a traffic jam there.’

Meanwhile, in Trenton, one lane on the West Road bridge over the railroad tracks has been closed to reduce the weight on the structure. Wayne County Deputy Director of Public Services Scott Cabauatan said the county has added temporary support to the bridge and is exploring whether more can be added. It plans to eventually replace the bridge, he said.

Wayne County is also in the design phase of a project to upgrade the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge. The Wayne County Commission recently accepted a state loan of about $20 million for the project. The province does not yet know when it will take place, Cabauatan said. Crews will repair and rehabilitate the man-made island in the Detroit River that protects the bridge when it is open, and they will also perform underwater cable and pier work.

MDOT spokesperson Diane Cross said the bridges in the area are “pretty old.” Telegraph was originally smaller and gained more lanes as the area grew, she said.

“It’s the age of bridges, and so it’s just time for it to be done,” Cross said.

Telegraaf is ‘super, super busy’

Finn Ritchie, 22, said Telegraph is normally “a bit busy” but “not nearly as bad as it is now.”

With traffic limited to one lane northbound, Ritchie said, “It’s going to be super, super busy, super, super fast, especially when it comes to where you can make the U-turns.”

Ritchie works at a restaurant close to home, so getting to work normally takes a few minutes. But during the construction project, the Taylor resident must leave about 15 minutes before the start of the service.

Ritchie wishes there weren’t so many roads being worked on at once.

“I agree that we want to clean up the roads — Michigan is known for bad roads — but doing it all at the same time is a little more than a hassle. It’s dangerous,” Ritchie said.

Hattie, who also lives in Taylor, said her granddaughter makes deliveries for DoorDash. Hattie drives the car while her granddaughter picks up food orders from restaurants. She said it “takes us a lot longer to go to restaurants” and get back home.

However, she said the bridge work “needs to be done.”

Cross, the MDOT spokesman, noted that “a lot of traffic jams” occur when a roadway is reduced from three lanes to one lane.

“Drivers should adjust their normal travel plans by allowing more time for their commute or using an alternate route,” she said in an email.

West Road Bridge in Trenton

Cabauatan, Wayne County’s deputy public services director, said the county conducts an annual inspection of the West Road bridge over the rail lines in Trenton. After the last inspection, he said it was recommended that temporary supports be added to the bridge “so that we can continue to bear the weight on it as the bridge currently stands.”

There was a lane closure in both the eastbound and westbound directions of the bridge, he said. But supports have been added to the north side of the bridge, so the westbound closure has ended. One eastbound lane is still closed as no support points have been added on that side.

“We are looking into that to see what the right solution is and how we maneuver that project as it also involves access to railway properties and their operations,” Cabauatan said, “so we are working with our engineers and our consultants to see what the next steps are to get that lane back into use.”

He does not have an estimated timeline for that project.

Wayne County is in the design phase of a project that would replace the bridge with a new one. Cabauatan said the province has not yet secured financing for construction, so he could not say when construction will begin.

Residents downstream noted inconveniences or disparities associated with the lane closure. Sylvia Honey, who lives in Riverview, said she comes to Trenton for planned activities or when she’s “just having fun Downriver.”

“I’m not quite sure what they’re doing with the West Road bridge, and so it’s annoying when I go back and forth, and I see no work being done at that time, during the day,” Honey said. . “So it puts the brakes on travel a little bit.”

Cindy Vogt, a retired nurse who lives in Trenton, said the lane closure “definitely delayed my trip, getting to downtown Trenton from West Road.” She said traffic in the bridge area is backing up as traffic merges into the one open lane.

“You really have to pay attention because there are people coming together,” Vogt said, “and it slows you down, and you have to make sure you’re watching so an accident doesn’t happen.”

But, she said, “it’s a good thing” that Wayne County is repairing the bridge, and she doesn’t mind the inconvenience for now.

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