Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Updated: Portage Lift Bridge stuck; traffic congested

By Michele Bourdieu

HOUGHTON -- As of 4:30 p.m. TODAY, Wednesday, Aug. 4, the Portage Lift Bridge is stuck for the second time this week. The Daily Mining Gazette reports that it may not be repaired before 7 p.m.

Keweenaw Now photographer Gustavo Bourdieu is presently parked in a line of traffic on the Houghton side of the bridge. He said he would report updates.

If you are heading north on U.S. 41 toward Hancock or south toward Houghton, be advised that you cannot cross the bridge at this time. It is better to avoid the traffic congestion and stay where you are until the bridge is repaired. Lucky you if you have a boat!

The Daily Mining Gazette is also posting updates.

"For the second time in two days, the Portage Lake Lift Bridge got stuck in an elevated position Wednesday afternoon," the Gazette reported Wednesday afternoon. "Sometime between 2:30 and 3 p.m. the bridge went up and cars began to wait. At 4 p.m., with lines of cars stretching in all directions on M-26 and U.S. 41, authorities began to have people turn their cars around."

The Gazette article also reported that on Tuesday, Aug. 3, the bridge was stuck for half an hour. The problem was blamed on a broken electrical switch.

Update -- 5:15 p.m. -- Houghton City Police Chief John Donnelly said shelters are being set up on both sides of the bridge, the Gazette reports. Shelters in Houghton are at the Copper Country Mall and the Student Development Complex at Michigan Technological University. In Hancock they are at the Apostolic Lutheran Church on Quincy Hill and the Houghton County Arena.

Bay Ambulance of Baraga is helping Houghton with emergency services.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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