Commerce Township would like to provide our residents with an update on the status of the blue wave panels with the “Commerce Township” signage that were temporarily removed from the M-5 bridge in November 2020.  The panels were removed because they were rusting, causing the panels to become discolored as well as causing staining on the bridge’s white concrete fascia.  The rust was due to a failure of the bridge’s contractors to galvanize the panels per MDOT’s specifications.  MDOT and the Attorney General’s office have since been working on behalf of Commerce Township on a plan for the contractor to repair and reinstall the panels.  The contractor intends to apply a zinc-aluminum thermal metallization to the panels to inhibit further rusting, then re-apply the blue powder coat.  The metallization process has to pass an adhesion test before it can be approved by MDOT.

MDOT recently informed the Township that the next adhesion test will be in late April.  Once the metallization passes the adhesion test, MDOT estimates it will take approximately 22 weeks to clean, metalize, powder coat, and reinstall the wave panels.  Based on that schedule, the earliest the panels and signage could be expected to return to the M-5 bridge would be Fall 2022.

The Commerce Township Board shares the frustration of Commerce residents that the bridge’s wave panels failed, and with the amount of time it is taking for the contractors to repair and re-install the panels and “Commerce Township” signage.  We will continue to provide updates as they become available.