GROSSE ILE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Grosse Ile is home to 12 publicly-owned bridges, but several of those bridges are in bad condition and in much need of repair.
More than 10,000 people call Grosse Ile Township home. The township is actually a group of 12 islands, all linked by bridges. Most of them date back to the 1930s or earlier.
Several of the bridges are in bad condition, with one that has been closed for more than a year. Another, the East River Rd. Bridge, has a rating of 3. If that bridge fails, 1,000 residents will be stranded, out of reach of emergency services and the mainland.
Wayne County is responsible for maintenance and safety inspections on all of them, with oversight from MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The FHWA’s Bridge Inspection Standards give bridges a ranking from 1 to 10: 10 is the best, 1 means the bridge is at risk of imminent failure.
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- Photo gallery: Underwater inspection shows deteriorating condition of Grosse Ile Bridge in 2017
- Read inspection reports for Grosse Ile Parkway bridge
Here's how the county plans to repair bridges on the island.
Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge over the Trenton Channel
The Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge is currently listed in serious condition, rated a number 3. It currently has a 26-ton vehicle weight limit. The bridge carries 75 percent of the traffic between Grosse Ile and the mainland, and is vital to the businesses in downtown Trenton.
Michael Van Antwerp, Wayne County Director of Engineering, told the 7 Investigators there are two phases of construction planned for the Parkway Bridge.
Phase 1 includes underwater reinforcement of the odd-numbered piers of the bridge. Those are the original piers from when the bridge was built as a railroad bridge in 1873. Van Antwerp says that work will begin in Fall 2019.
“We’re going to improve the foundation of the bridge, how the piers connect to the channel. We’re expecting that to be about a $1 million to $1.2 million construction project,” said Van Antwerp.
Phase 2 will focus on the structure above the water, and will improve the steel connections of the bridge, and the county will re-paint the bridge.
“Wayne County has heard from Grosse Ile residents: don’t shut down the bridge,” said Van Antwerp. “So, as we move forward with the design process of Phase 1 and Phase 2, that is one of the critical items that we’re really testing our engineers and our construction community – how can we do these improvements without shutting down the bridge.”
West River Road Bridge
West River Road is currently closed under this bridge, in order to accommodate steel reinforcement beams. Van Antwerp says the bridge is safe, and is scheduled for reconstruction in 2020. This is a concrete bridge that is part of the approach to the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge. This bridge is rated as 3, in Serious condition.
West River Road over Thorofare Canal
This bridge is in fair condition. Van Antwerp says this bridge does not need reconstruction at this time.
East River Road over N. Hickory Canal (Meso Island)
This bridge has a weight limit posted, and has a rating of 3 – Serious. It is scheduled for reconstruction in Fall 2019.
“It’s up on my list and we’re in the design process right now,” said Van Antwerp. “The bridge is safe to drive back and forth on, but we want to make sure that we put a new bridge in there as soon as possible.”
Parke Lane Bridge
This bridge is currently closed, and has been closed since April 2018. County official say there are no plans yet to repair it, because they don’t have funding yet for this bridge. The bridge rating is 3.
“The Parke Lane bridge is difficult because it’s over a canal that has a lot of water traffic. We would like to put temporary supports there to keep the bridge open, but we can’t do that and ensure… boater safety,” said Van Antwerp. “So, the safest thing to do right now is to close that bridge until we can address and put a new bridge there.”
Swan Drive over Swan Channel
This bridge has a weight limit posted. It is currently rated at a 4 in Poor condition. Wayne County has plans for reconstruction of this bridge in 2021.
Ferry St. over Thorofare Canal
Rated at 3, in Serious condition, the Ferry St. bridge has a weight limit posted. No funding has been identified at the county level yet for this bridge, because vehicle re-routes are available.
Meridian Rd. Bridge over Thorofare Canal
This bridge has a rating of 4. It is currently has a weight limit posted, and is scheduled to be replaced in 2021.
Elba Drive over Elba Canal
Rated at 4, in Poor condition, this bridge is open but scheduled to be replaced in 2023.
Swan Point Drive
This bridge is rated at 7, and in Good condition.
Church Road Bridge over Thoroughfare Canal
This bridge is in Good condition.
Horsemill Bridge over Thorofare Canal
This bridge is in good condition.