58 bridges across state are shut down for safety, others are deteriorating. Here's what MDOT is doing:

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 14:23:20-04

(WXYZ) — The Wayne County Director of Engineering in the Department of Public Services, Michael VanAntwerp, took 7 Action News to one bridge that received a poor rating.

When you are driving on the Miller Road bridge at Rotunda Drive, you may not notice anything. MDOT gives the deck surface a fair rating, but underneath, it is a different story. MDOT gives it an overall poor rating.

The structure that tens of thousands of people drive on everyday, many as they come to and from Ford in Dearborn, is literally corroding away.

“So we installed temporary structures,” VanAntwerp said.

He says the temporary supports make the bridge safe, for now. They are only expected to work for a maximum of five years.

However, is it a big problem? Wayne County’s infrastructure budget is about $60 million a year. The Miller Road bridge will cost an estimated $50 million to replace.

“To find more money we will go to the state, to the feds," VanAntwerp said. "We will go anywhere we can.”

“It would take 80 years at current funding levels to replace all of the bridges (in the country),” said Matthew Chynoweth, MDOT Head of Bridges.

Chynoweth says it is a problem statewide.

“This particular bridge we are on right now is in poor condition,” Chynoweth said.

He met Action News on the Cass Avenue Bridge over I-94, where a lane is closed because the bridge is deteriorating.

Chynoweth wants people to know that if a bridge is unsafe, MDOT shuts it down. As a matter of fact, 58 bridges around the state are shut down because of safety issues, including the 3rd Avenue Bridge over I-94 in Detroit which is slated to be removed as I-94 is modernized.

MDOT says in the interest of transparency it created a dashboard that allows you to look up the condition of the bridges you drive on everyday.

”This is about safety," Chynoweth said. "It is about mobility. The freeway system is the greatest purveyor of our economy,”