Coates Highway Bridge Replacement to Close Popular Backpacking Loop this Summer

Release Date: Mar 8, 2018

Contact(s): Dianne Berry

Red Bridge

Located near the Village of Brethren in Manistee County, the deteriorated bridge over the Manistee River will be fully replaced this construction season.  Recreational use of the river will be maintained throughout the construction, although those who plan to backpack the popular loop between Hodenpyl Dam and Red Bridge will be unable to cross over the river on Coates Highway.


Commonly known as “Red Bridge,” the replacement project is scheduled to begin April 2, with full bridge access across the river resuming late August.  Located at the southern end of the Manistee River Trail (MRT), Red Bridge connects the MRT with a section of North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT).  The bridge replacement will close the only river crossing on the south end of the MRT-NCT loop.  All trails will remain open.  The Red Bridge boat launch will remain open, with access only available from the west until the road and bridge fully reopen.

Recognizing this area of the Manistee River is amongst the heaviest recreation areas on the Manistee National Forest, the construction contract requires two lanes of boat traffic be maintained through the use of buoys, lights, floating booms, and other devices.  Cofferdams and barges shall be lighted at night.

Construction signage at the boat launch, along the Manistee River, at recreation trailheads and critical road and trail junctions will advise forest and river users of the Coates Highway closure and construction work. 


Alternate hiking and boating opportunities on the Huron-Manistee National Forests can be found online at