Hooray! Allegan’s Old Iron Bridge Reopens After Months-Long Restoration
After an unprecedented four month closure, the historic Second Street Bridge in downtown Allegan, MI has reopened to traffic.
Built in 1886 the "old iron bridge", as the locals call it, had been closed to both foot and vehicular traffic since early April for reconstruction and restoration efforts. Originally expected to be reopened by mid-July the City of Allegan says the project was delayed due to supply chain issues.
New and Improved
As it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the City chose to invest in the project to "extend the longevity of the gateway that enters Downtown Allegan for generations to come."
Over the course of several months the iconic bridge underwent numerous restoration efforts which the City of Allegan says includes new timber and decking with reinforced steel. In addition to reinforcement updated features also include a new sidewalk approach, new pavement, and an ADA compliant pedestrian crosswalk on Second Street which now makes the street safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.
One of the biggest changes with this new project was closing the single-lane bridge to two-way traffic and instead returning it to a one-way, as it had previously been in the 1980s. This prevents drivers from turning left from Second Street onto busy M-89/Marshall Street. Says the City,
The change now stops left-turning traffic onto Marshall Street, deemed a dangerous turn by the Allegan City Police Department and the Michigan Department of Transportation, makes a safer and accessible pedestrian walk along Marshall Street, and decreases the wear and tear that comes with back and forth traffic, therefore extending the life of the iconic bridge.
As an Allegan resident myself I am happy to know that our iconic bridge will be around for generations to come thanks to these improvements. However, I'm not a big fan of returning it to one-way traffic only as I've only ever known the bridge to be two-way in my lifetime!
As someone who lives right next to downtown and utilizes the bridge often to get in and out of town, I'm disappointed that my short cut no longer exists. Speaking from my own experience, I know that at certain times of the day it can be difficult to turn left onto M-89 but I don't think I've ever seen an accident at that intersection with my own eyes-- though I don't doubt it happens.
I think what makes this project so bittersweet is that the City says you'll no longer hear the familiar "clank" sound when first driving over the bridge due to the new steel reinforcements. Even though I know it's for a good reason, I'll still miss hearing that sound!