County Monroe and local authorities have proposed alternative routes to bypass US-23 which was closed Friday between Dundee and Milan when a semi-truck with a high load traveling in the northbound lane struck the Ann Arbor Railroad Viaduct, causing extensive structural damage.
The freeway was closed in both directions just north of Cone Rd. At Plank Road. since the accident, forcing motorists to find alternative routes on rural county roads. Local authorities said it would take some time to repair the bridge.
Dori Hawkins-Freelain, chief executive of the Monroe County Road commission, met with officials from the townships of Dundee, London and Milan this week and issued new guidelines for motorists looking for detours around the closed motorway. She said the highway agency “is working with all entities to determine the best solution for traffic originating in the United States-23”.
The roads in the area are rural in nature and “are not designed to accommodate the number and types of vehicles that travel regularly in the United States-23,” Hawkins-Freelain said in a press release Wednesday.
Hawkins-Freelain has announced the following detours for motorists arriving from Ohio:
- For northbound traffic: follow I-475 in Toledo north to I-75 northbound to I-275 northbound to I-94 northbound west to return to US-23.
- For Southbound traffic: Take I-94 Eastbound at Ann Arbor to I-275 Southbound to I-75 Southbound to I-475 Westbound at Toledo to US-23.
Aaron Jenkins, an MDOT media spokesperson, said Wednesday that the MDOT will award a repair contract next week and “I hope it will be up and running” to complete the repairs. He couldn’t tell when the repairs would be completed.
“As soon as possible,” Jenkins said. “These are emergency repairs. The lower beams of the bridge are damaged and that’s what the contractor will bid and determine and then tell us. We don’t expect this to be a long term fix.
He noted that trains still run on the bridge, but the MDOT has no control over the use of tracks on the bridge.
County commissioner David Hoffman, whose district includes the bridge, called the traffic problems a mess. David Uhl, director of the village of Dundee, said most trucks and motorists on US-23 northbound take the M-50 east to Monroe and head north on Telegraph Rd . or I-75. Southbound traffic exit at Plank Rd. And head east or west. Eastbound traffic on Plank was also heavy.
Uhl said the traffic was impacting almost the entire county, including the town of Monroe.
“The trucks are going all over the place,” the manager said on Wednesday. “We have received a lot of complaints. We explained that there is nothing we can do about it until the bridge is fixed.