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Allegan temporarily closes bridge, dam removal plans continue

Allegan has two infrastructure projects planned, one of which begins in April and will affect pedestrians and motorists who use the historic bridge. Beginning April 4, the bridge will be closed to all traffic as road paving and bridge reconstruction begins. The roads between M89 and the bridge and the bridge to 2nd Street will be repaved. Milbocker and Sons, Inc. will perform maintenance on the bridge struts and resurface the bridge. Based on the latest bridge inspection, the city learned that although no major issues were found, some maintenance issues needed to be addressed. It is estimated that the bridge will reopen to pedestrians and motorists on July 15. Plans to remove the dam near downtown Allegan are proceeding with the EPA awarding the City of Allegan a $360,000 grant to complete full engineering design plans for removal of the dam, powerhouse, and mill pond. The plans, which are being developed by AECOM, are expected to be completed in early 2023. “We are still in the infancy stages of what it will take to remove the dam and restore the river channel to its natural width,” noted Joel Dye, City Manager. The EPA, which is continuing its efforts to clean up PCBs in the Kalamazoo River, will determine who is responsible for further financing. Dye says the city will have to raise millions for additional work, which could be accomplished through a combination of grants. In late 2019, the Allegan City Council approved removal of the dam and established a Riverfront Development Committee that meets once a month. Some conceptual drawings of what the riverfront might look like have been developed. Dye believes that the riverfront area would be “significantly improved. It would create recreational opportunities, improve aquatic habitat, create additional parkland and provide more opportunities to come to enjoy what Allegan has to offer.” Some residents have expressed concern over what the impact will be on Lake Allegan, but that area contains the Calkins Bridge Dam off Allegan Dam Road, not the downtown dam near the Mill District. The Calkins Bridge Dam is under the authority of Consumers Energy.

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