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      Portage Lake Lift Bridge receiving upgrades

      The Portage Lake Lift Bridge sees quite a bit of traffic between cars and boats. Now, the bridge is about to get a little TLC. Over the course of about a year, the bridge will be receiving new lift cables, fresh paint in a few areas, as well as new security gates.

      "Part of the maintenance of it is trying to keep up with any repairs that are needed. We want to make sure that the bridge is extremely reliable so we try to keep up with any of the repairs, any of the improvements that need to be made," said Andy Sikkema, Manager of the Ishpeming MDOT Transportation Service Center.

      Construction is expected to begin in December of this year or January of next year.

      There will be short periods of time where the bridge will be closed to traffic. Luckily, any closures of the bridge should be brief, with the longest closure lasting about ten hours.

      "What we're concerned about is that the motoring public and the workers are safe because we are going to have to lift up some major pieces of equipment and lower them down and when we do that, we don't want to make a safety problem if there was a problem," said Sikkema.

      Most of the construction will be done at night which should minimize the impact on the number of people affected by any closures.

      MDOT will hold public meetings as the construction nears so that the public knows how the construction will affect them.

      The total cost of the project is expected to be about $5.5 million.

      "Funding for the project comes from a couple of sources. It happens to be state and federal gas taxes are the largest portions of it. It's just routine work that we do on any bridge to keep them in good, functional order," said Sikkema.

      While construction tends to be a headache, the end result is worth it and any delays should be minimal.