US-131 M-179 Interchange Improvements
The aging M-179 bridge structure, providing access from US-131 to the expanding Gun Lake Tribal lands, including the casino development, prompted the need for an interchange replacement project including replacement of the existing, limited capacity bridge structure and associated ramps with a new pile supported, integral abutment, two-span, bridge structure with the existing M-179 roadway reconstructed and widened along with reconfiguration of interchange ramps into a Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) configuration. Due to the re-aligned and widened bridge structure and the need for additional embankment material supporting approach slabs and new roadway and ramps, up to 25 ft of grade raise fill was needed to accommodate finish road grades.
F&V served as the project manager and client liaison with Gun Lake Tribe for five years of study, preliminary engineering, aesthetics, design, and design assistance during construction for the reconstruction of the US-131 and M-179 interchange.
The project was a complete interchange reconstruction project, including all ramps, the bridge, realignment of a portion of M-179, and new bridge approaches. It also involved coordination with MDOT rail for replacement of the track crossing M-179 east of the interchange, and coordination with MDOT Grand Rapids TSC for resurfacing M-179 up to the tracks. Construction staging had to be carefully coordinated to maintain access to the Gun Lake Casino and Gun Lake Tribal campus, as well as for emergency vehicles throughout the 2-year construction duration.
This project was awarded the 2022 American Public Works Association (APWA) Midwest Michigan Branch Project of the Year (Structures more than $1 million).
Photos courtesy of MDOT.