GROSSE ILE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Repairs are expected to begin soon on the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge after permits permitting the work were issued Wednesday.
The bridge has been closed for more than a year due to severe structural damage that was found following a 7 Action News Investigation.
The Parkway Bridge is the only free way onto the island and it accounts for 75% of the traffic. It’s already been closed for a year, and work to fix it still isn’t being done.
As of last week, the Wayne County Department of Public Services said they were waiting for permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, also called EGLE.
Both the state and federal permits were issued on Thursday by EGLE and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“As soon as they issue those permits, our contractor is ready to mobilize within a week, get this construction started, and still maintain our goal of opening this bridge in the Fall of 2021," said Beverly Watts, Director of the Wayne County Department of Public Services, last week. "Remember, the Fall can go all the way until December.”
The Civic Association drafted a letter to EGLE and the Army Corps of Engineers requesting the permits be expedited, citing multiple issues including "financial injustice." The letter referenced the findings of a 7 Action News investigation and included a link to a story from May of 2019.
In that story, 7 Investigator Heather Catallo discovered the support piers of the bridge were supposed to be reinspected every 3 years but that an inspection wasn’t done for at least 10 years. The 7 Investigators also discovered that the person in charge of setting up those inspections, Timothy Drakeford, was fired by Wayne County for "falsifying records" and "neglect of duty."
In 2018 he told 7 Investigators that he was instructed to simply "copy and paste" his old inspection sheets.