INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE ADMINISTRATION
The two-year, $8.9 million International Bridge Toll Plaza construction project in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is still in the early stages but things are proceeding smoothly, according to International Bridge Authority (IBA) officials.
IBA General Manager Phil Becker said the project contractor, DeVere Construction Company from Alpena, and the road work subcontractor, M&M Excavating from Gaylord, got to work as soon as authorization came through on June 4.
"They hit the ground running literally within minutes of authorization to start construction," Becker said. "We had allowed a three-week closure of the northbound I-75 on ramp at Easterday Avenue to get it reconstructed; the ramp will be reopened to traffic at noon Friday, June 27, right on schedule."
The project will replace the 52-year-old toll plaza and office building.
The new toll booths and office building will be constructed approximately 150 feet (45 meters) south of the existing booths and building.
Construction on the plaza project is scheduled to conclude in November 2015.
Becker said the work has progressed to the point that the June 28 Bridge Bike Parade and Bridge Walk will safely proceed as planned and participants won't be interrupted.
Next week, the IBA will be preparing to install temporary toll booths, which will be located just north of the current booths and accessed by the recently completed temporary toll lanes.
On the morning of July 10, all northbound toll traffic will be routed onto the recently completed toll lanes.
Northbound traffic will be served by two temporary booths.
All southbound toll traffic will be served by one temporary toll booth and one existing toll booth.
These temporary toll booths will be used until early October while three of five new permanent toll booths are completed and three of four existing toll booths are removed.
Bridge officials emphasize that Prox cards can be used in all temporary toll lanes; however, customers will be processed by toll attendants as there will be no external card readers at the temporary booths. For current account balances, customers are encouraged to request a receipt from toll attendants. Digital patron fare displays will be unavailable with the temporary booths.
Construction has been planned to minimize disruption to toll traffic and bridge customer inconvenience.
Customers are encouraged to visit the bridge website at www.saultbridge.com for project information and to view the webcam to see project construction and traffic routing through the toll lanes.
The public also can submit a customer comment card on the website to offer comments on the project.
Follow the International Bridge on Twitter at www.twitter.com/saultbridge for current construction announcements and photos.