Today the Michigan State Police (MSP) announced that they’ll be increasing patrols on and around U.S. 131 in the hopes of stopping trucks from hitting the battered and bruised 100th Street Bridge.
The 100th Street Bridge in Byron Township has been hit 11 times so far in 2018, according to MLive.
As part of a partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, an increased number of Michigan troopers with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division will be patrolling around the 100th Street Bridge, trying to spot too-tall trucks before they have a chance to hit the the bridge.
But the MSP admits that spotting a truck that’s tall enough to hit the bridge might be easier said than done. MSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Lt. Brad Cushman said, “Unless it’s egregiously overheight, it’s nearly impossible. Especially if you add the fact that the vehicles are traveling at 60 to 65 mph. It’s very difficult to tell. It’s more visibility patrol and taking enforcement action when necessary.”
The increased police presence on U.S. 131 is in response to a dramatic uptick in bridge strikes — from 1985 to 2003, the bridge was only hit by six trucks, amounting to one truck every two years. In 2018, even though no major structural changes have been made to the bridge, it has been hit by a truck roughly every two weeks.
The southbound side of the bridge is marked at 14 feet 3 inches but actually measures 14 feet 5 inches. The northbound side of the bridge is marked at 13 feet 11 inches but is actually 14 feet 1 inch. Drivers must obtain a permit for any load taller than 13 feet 6 inches.
In addition to the increased patrols, Michigan transportation officials plan to resurface the roadway on U.S. 131 under the 100th Street Bridge to shave off a few inches from the road and give trucks a little more room to pass under. In 2020, the bridge is scheduled to be completely replaced by a 16 foot high structure.