Winner of the Graham Woodhouse Intergovernmental Effort Award Presented by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

Sink Road Bridge-Dowagiac, Michigan

The Sink Road Bridge replacement project is significant in that seven agencies worked collaboratively through numerous local, state, and federal challenges to successfully create a safer traveling passageway for residents and visitors of the Dowagiac area.  

Wightman partnered with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Pokagon Township, Cass County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Michigan Department of Transportation to replace the Sink Road bridge, over the Dowagiac River, which had fallen into disrepair and was architecturally insufficient. The project required extensive design considerations due to the wetland area, federal trust land, and existing utilities. 

The project also necessitated a road realignment to eliminate a sharp curve at the south end of the bridge that created a dangerous situation for drivers. The bridge guardrail prevented access to and parking at a public canoe launch and required the relocation of the canoe ramp from the east bank to another location upstream.  Additional safety improvements were implemented including the addition of a 10-vehicle parking lot, restroom facilities, and path to the launch ramp, which provided a safer walkway by eliminating the need for users to cross the busy two-lane roadway.

The perseverance by the teaming partners has provided a safer, structurally sound traveling passage of which everyone can be proud.

Complimentary Services

“A shared vision, cohesive team of experts, and persistence CAN overcome the hurdles of dwindling funding, limited right of way, and utility conflicts. I love seeing a bridge I inspected 20 years ago and a canoe ramp I use regularly be improved for the next generation.”
Matt Davis
President of Wightman