Michigan gets $1 million ‘innovation’ grant for new Second Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit

Second Avenue bridge to be first ‘first network tied-arch bridge’ in Michigan

The Second Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit.
The Second Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit. (Google Maps)

DETROIT – The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded the state of Michigan a $1 million “Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID)” grant for the replacement of the Second Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) said over the next 18 month it will be replacing the bridge that was originally constructed in 1954. Demolition has been underway this year after the bridge was shut down due to “advanced structural deterioration” on its supports.

MDOT said the new Second Avenue bridge will be the first network tied-arch bridge in the state of Michigan. “Network” refers to the numerous cables that will be crossed from the top of the arch to the part of the structure supporting traffic. MDOT says it chose this design because of improved vertical clearance for freeway traffic below and because it eliminates the need for increasing the grade on a residential section of Second Avenue.

The skeleton of the network tied-arch structure will be constructed in a Wayne State University parking lot while the bridge foundation and abutment walls are constructed along the freeway. MDOT says this simultaneous construction will save time and limit impacts on I-94 traffic.

In winter 2020-2021, it is expected that the skeleton arch will be rolled into place using self-propelled modular transports. Once in place, the bridge deck will be cast and the structure will be finished in place.

The $1 million grant must be used for the innovative aspects of the bridge. The cost of the network tied-arch is estimated at $8 million, which includes steel and fabrication costs, cast-in-place concrete tie girder, and other structural elements. The replacement cost of the Second Avenue overpass is $25.5 million.

“These funds will help support Michigan and our other state partners to deliver more resilient roads, bridges and highways for the traveling public,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “These grants being awarded will help advance innovative transportation solutions to improve safety and mobility on roads throughout Michigan and the entire country.”

MDOT also said that since the new design clear spans both the existing and future I-94 configuration, there is no need for a center pier that would interfere with the freeway modernization project on I-94 set to begin later this decade.

“Midtown Detroit congratulates MDOT on the innovation grant that will support a unique, signature bridge connecting Wayne State University and the Tech Town district,” said Sue Mosey, executive director of Midtown Detroit Inc. “This attractive and cost-effective design complements the numerous other progressive construction projects in our area."

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