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M-5 Non-Motorized Bridge (Updated November 30, 2017)

With grant funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Michigan Air Line Trailway Council acquired title to the former Coe Railroad corridor in February 2017. The Council is a cooperative effort of Commerce Township, the City of Wixom, and the City of Walled Lake in partnership with the State of Michigan and with Oakland County. 

As part of the conversion of the former railroad into a non-motorized recreational trail, the MDOT secured over three million dollars in Federal funding to construct a non-motorized bridge over M-5. MDOT presented preliminary concepts of the M-5 bridge to the Commerce Township Board of Trustees in 2016. The Township Board felt the bridge could be an opportunity to serve as a gateway into the Township, and decided to contribute local funds to enhance MDOT’s standard design. The Township contracted with Touchstone Architecture, who developed a package of enhancements to MDOT’s base bridge intended to honor Commerce Township’s heritage as a community of beautiful lakes.  Bridge enhancements include decorative sail walls atop the abutments at either end of the bridge span, a perforated metal wave across the bridge face, decorative signage, and color-change lighting.

The MDOT received six bids for the M-5 bridge construction project in November 2017, and the job was awarded to Davis Construction Company of Lansing. Davis could begin preparing the site as early as January 2018, with major construction activity expected in spring 2018.  Bridge construction is not anticipated to significantly impact vehicular traffic along M-5. Completion is scheduled for August 2018. 

The Michigan Air Line Trail is approximately six miles of former railroad right-of-way that traverses through Wixom, Walled Lake, and Commerce Township, connecting with the West Bloomfield Trail to the east, the Huron Valley Trail to the west, and the M-5 Metro Trail to the south. The trail will be part of  Great Lake to Lake Trail Route #1 that will connect Lake Michigan at South Haven to Lake Huron at Port Huron by 2019. The Michigan Air Line Trail has been open to the public since May 2017, although its surface remains mostly comprised of the former railroad bed.  While the M-5 bridge is under construction in spring and early summer 2018, the Trailway Council hopes to be making significant improvements to the surface of the trail and to its at-grade crossings at major roads. The intent is for the improved trail and the M-5 bridge to both be completed around the same time in summer 2018.

Commerce Township, the Michigan Air Line Trailway Council, and the MDOT are excited about the non-motorized bridge over M-5 and its future as a proud gateway into Commerce Township. For more information, contact the Commerce Township Planning Department at (248) 960-7050.  

M-5 Non-Motorized Bridge Alignment – The former Coe Railroad crossed M-5 at a steep angle.  The bridge will cross M-5 perpendicularly to minimize the length of the bridge span. The bridge’s ramp on the east side of M-5 will run parallel to the east side of the highway and re-connect to the path about 500 feet north of the bridge.
 Picture 1 - M5 Bridge

Northbound Daytime View of MDOT’s Proposed Bridge – MDOT presented this bridge design to the Township Board in August 2016. The Board felt MDOT’s design should be enhanced so the bridge would serve as a gateway for northbound traffic into Commerce Township.  
Picture 2 - M5 Bridge 

Northbound Daytime View of Enhanced M-5 Bridge – Touchstone Architecture created an enhanced design intended to honor Commerce’s heritage as a lakes community. The design includes decorative sail abutments at either end of the bridge span, a perforated metal wave across the bridge face, and decorative signage. 
Picture 3 - M5 Bridge 

User’s Perspective of M-5 Bridge
Picture 4 - M5 Bridge 

Southbound Daytime View of Enhanced M-5 Bridge
Picture 5 - M5 Bridge 


Northbound Night View of Enhanced M-5 Bridge – The bridge will have decorative lighting elements for the wave panels, along the deck, and at the decorative abutments. 
Picture 6 - M5 Bridge