New road would help in Morenci bridge replacement 10.22.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When Morenci city council members learned in May that the Main Street bridge over Silver Creek will have to be closed for replacement—perhaps in 2011—conversation turned to the difficulties of road closure during the construction period.

There would be no easy detour around the bridge at the main entrance to town from the east—particularly not for truck traffic serving local industries.

But due to the Palm Plastics expansion project announced earlier this month, the problem is likely to disappear.

Financial assistance from the State of Michigan will bring money to Morenci, as well as to Palm Plastics.

A portion of a $2.9 million CDBG grant will be used to construct a north/south road into Morenci’s industrial park. The road will begin at Main Street just east of Silver Creek by United Bank and Trust, and end at the existing industrial park road, the east/west Skyline Industrial  Drive.

The new road, to be called Hammontree Industrial Drive, will intersect Main Street east of the bridge and provide a detour during construction. The road project hinges on construction of Palm’s proposed second building.

State economic development officials were interested in the project for several reasons, said David Munson of Munson Development Company.

Inspection of the bridge earlier this year resulted not only in the order for replacement, but also called for a weight reduction from 61 tons to 42 tons.

That change was of concern to Palm Plastics in regard to inbound materials shipment. When the bridge is closed, traffic leading to Palm and to Roth Fabricating would be adversely affected to an even greater degree.

A detour through town would lead truck traffic through residential and school areas—a situation that’s avoided when possible.

Council members voted in May to seek federal funds that would cover 95 percent of the bridge replacement cost. That would leave the city with a share of about $15,000 plus engineering costs. Replacement would be scheduled in 2011.

The bridge inspector didn’t order immediate action beyond the load reduction, but regular inspections will check for additional deterioration. The inspector found scaling on the metal beams and underwash around the abutments.

The bridge problem was a factor in the state’s determination of financial aid to Palm Plastics, Munson said, but the benefit goes beyond the industrial park.

“I think it will help the city as a whole,” he said.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017