Temporary weight restrictions on Grosse Ile Toll Bridge to end Saturday night

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Grosse Ile Township — The Grosse Ile Toll Bridge's temporary 20-ton weight limit, which took effect Thursday morning, will expire Saturday night, said township Supervisor James Budny.

Budny said the decision to impose restrictions was made by the Grosse Ile Bridge Company, after an unspecified problem with the bridge was discovered.

Wayne County had no say in the matter, said spokeswoman Tiffani Jackson.

Budny said he spoke to the owner Thursday morning and was told the restrictions would be lifted Saturday night.

"They don't have to tell us anything. It's a private company," Budny said. "But they have been good about sharing information. They know more than they knew yesterday. They've had people on the site."

The bridge company did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.

The temporary 20-ton weight limit went into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday. Trucks also must have a maximum of three axles, the Grosse Ile Bridge Co. said on Facebook.

Vehicles cross the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge from the Riverview side on Wednesday. The bridge company announced a temporary weight restriction of 20 tons and a maximum of three axles for trucks.

"Weight restrictions are being modified ahead of repairs that are necessary on the bridge," the township said. "The new load limits should only impact commercial traffic as most commuter traffic falls below these weight guidelines. Once these repairs are completed, existing limits will be restored." 

The company's website lists previous restrictions of 16 tons, 24 tons and 34 tons for different types of vehicles, with a maximum axle weight of 16,000. 

The bridge opened in 1913 and was the first carrying automobiles to the island, according to the bridge company's website.

The other span connecting the island, the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge, closed last year for major repairs. 

In November, officials said the only free bridge for the island of about 10,000 residents could remain closed through fall 2021.

County officials have said they seek to expedite repairs so they're finished before 2022.

When both bridges are open, the toll bridge handles about 25% of bridge traffic, according to the bridge company.

With the county bridge closed, the traffic burden of the island falls entirely on the toll bridge. 

John Paul, general manager of the Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club, said the club spent about $23,000 in tolls to get employees to work last year, in the absence of the free bridge.

That's just the beginning of the costs. Small contractors bill the club for their tolls too, he said. 

"We can still do everything we want to do, it just costs more," Paul said, especially to haul in sand.

The club's 18-hole golf course is due for a renovation in June, he said. Weight restrictions mean it takes more trucks, and more drivers, to haul the same load.