Feds OK repair permit for Grosse Ile free bridge

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
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Federal officials have given the greenlight for repairs to the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge to begin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit verification for the Grosse Ile Bridge was issued Wednesday, according to William Dowell, a spokesman for the agency's Detroit District.

The Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge, shown from Grosse Ile, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Michigan's Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy also issued its permit for repairs Wednesday.

It's not clear when Wayne County, which owns the bridge, will start the work.

On Thursday, county spokeswoman Tiffani Jackson said the Department of Public Services is finalizing a schedule with its contractor on the project and will announce later when the repairs will begin. 

County officials previously have said the timetable for reopening the bridge is late 2021. They have also said the repairs would likely cost $10 million to $15 million and would keep the bridge operating for another 30 years. 

Closing the county's bridge meant Grosse Ile residents and visitors have only the privately owned Grosse Ile Toll Bridge as an option to get on and off the island by car. The county-owned bridge was built for railroad use in 1873, but opened for vehicular traffic in 1932. It was reconstructed in 2007.

The bridge, which handles 75% of the traffic to the 10,000-person island, was closed in May 2020 after a November 2019 inspection revealed the need for emergency decking repairs.

In November 2020, engineers discovered significant erosion of the bridge's support piers. That same month, the Michigan Department of Transportation's chief bridge engineer said demolishing and rebuilding the bridge is the only suitable long-term solution.

Earlier this year, a group of residents pooled money to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets in hopes they could win the money to buy the island a new bridge.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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