Work progresses on M-231 in Ottawa Co.

Construction on M-231. (Aug. 21, 2014)

ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Construction continues on the new M-231 bypass in Ottawa County.

M-231 is Michigan’s first route to be built in more than a decade. It will start at M-45/Lake Michigan Drive in Robinson Township and span 7 miles north, connecting with I-96 and M-104 near Nunica.

Thursday, crews delivered huge steel beams to site of the M-231 bridge over the Grand River. The heaviest weighed about 95,000 pounds.

MDOT says Ottawa County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and another crossing is definitely needed.

“A lot of people refer to it as the US-31 bypass because US-31 in Grand Haven gets really congested, especially in the summer, because it’s such a great area for tourism. And then you’ve got the draw bridge and if that draw bridge goes up to accommodate boat traffic that backs up traffic for miles,” MDOT spokesman John Richard said. “If you want to get across the Grand River, you have to go to 68th Street to the east or all the way to US-31 to the west and this is right in the middle. So this will be a nice additional river crossing over the Grand River. Very important not only for commuters, but for first responders and traffic and safety personnel, too.”

The bridge will be the seventh largest bridge in the state once it is completed. It will be the fourth state crossing over the Grand River.

The major undertaking has been in the works for 25 years, as it had to clear several environmental hurdles.

Construction on M-231 started in early 2011. The bypass should be open to traffic in late 2015 or early 2016.

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