Dexter Presented with B2B Crossing Options Over Mill Creek

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Artist rendering of the Bell Road Bridge over Mill Creek. Image by Stantec Consulting.

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

At the Sept. 26, 2022, City Council meeting, organizers of the Border-to-Border Trail (B2B) presented their ideas for connecting the City of Dexter to the western leg of the trail via Mill Creek Park, specifically, how to cross Mill Creek.

In attendance were Washtenaw County Parks Planner Pete Sanderson and Project Manager Roy Townsend with Jeff Hardcastle, Board Chair for Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative.

The group presented two ideas to the council.

“We’re looking to get your feedback on whether we should continue to pursue the reuse of the Bell Road Bridge or should we pursue a new structure?” said Sanderson. “Also, how do you feel about this general location of the bridge crossing with the details still to be determined through engineering and permitting.”

Proposed plans for the B2B coming into Dexter with several options. Sanderson pointed out that the dashes mean boardwalk (much more expensive), and the solid lines are pavement. Image by Stantec Consulting.

The Bell Road Bridge is a 105-foot wrought iron bridge constructed in 1891. It carried Bell Road over the Huron River at the site of the now gone mill town of Dover, located on Dexter-Pinckney about three-quarter miles north of North Territorial. By 1997, the supporting abutments had decayed to the point engineers feared a collapse. The bridge was removed and eventually dismantled and stored by the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

The latest segment of the B2B between Chelsea and Dexter begins at Dancer Road and extends east almost two miles ending a half mile from Parker Road. Sanderson told the council they plan to extend the trail to Parker Road in 2023 and bring the pathway into Dexter across Mill Creek in 2024, connecting to the Mill Creek Park Trail at the junction near Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Artist rendering of a new prefabricated bridge over Mill Creek. Image by Stantec Consulting.

Crossing the river isn’t the group’s only concern. They are working through a detailed analysis of the floodplain. “We want to make sure that we're meeting all the appropriate environmental regulations associated with work in that area,” said Sanderson.



Engineers for the river crossing, Stantec Consulting, project the cost of using the Bell Road Bridge to be $1,882,000. Their projected cost for a new prefabricated bridge is $2,482,000.

The council unanimously supported the Bell Road Bridge option crossing at the location outlined in the plans.

“It is really interesting, historically and visually,” said Councilmember Hubbard. “I like what it brings to the trail, a history that you don’t see in other areas. I also like that it is a proposed lower cost.”

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