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Michigan Environment

New Cass Road Bridge opens next week

Grand Traverse Road Commission

The new Cass Road Bridge is set to open south of Traverse City next week. It will eventually cross the Boardman River when the stream is rerouted next year. 

Grand Traverse County is demolishing the Boardman Dam and the old Cass Road Bridge and moving the river to its original location. It will be the second dam to be removed as part of a comprehensive plan to restore the river to what supporters say is a more natural state. In 2013, Brown Bridge Dam was taken out. 

“There’s been a lot of planning, a lot of design work, a lot of coordination … to put that bridge where they’re going to put the restored, original river,” says Jim Cook, the manager of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.

When the new bridge opens Wednesday, September 21, drivers will still need to cross the old one-lane bridge to get to Keystone Road. That is only temporary however. 

Cass Road will once again be closed when the dam removal project gets underway next spring. But by late next year, the new bridge will connect Cass Road directly to Keystone Road. 

The bridge project has been in the works since 2012, Cook says. The 250-foot span has a price tag of nearly $2.9 million. 

Credit Grand Traverse Road Commission
The old Cass Road Bridge

Cook says the new bridge was built with a large shoulder to be more bike and pedestrian friendly.

“At some point we do plan on doing an improvement project on Cass Road which should include widened shoulders to also accommodate bicycles and pedestrians,” Cook says.

There is a ribbon cutting event for the new crossing on September 21.