Emergency work shuts down Grosse Ile free bridge, causing long lines and short tempers

Emergency work on the Grosse Ile free bridge has meant long one-hour plus waits for drivers since Wednesday night when Wayne County shut it down.

Dennis Winters described the backup lasting an hour and 10 minutes that he experienced at the toll bridge to get to his house from the main land - because that's all anyone can do who has to do right now to get on or off the island.

The Grosse Ile Township supervisor told FOX 2 the county inspected the bridge in the summer of 2019. At at that time, a structural requirement surrounding a 26-ton weight limit wasn't met - so the bridge has been closed.

FOX 2: "Was it unsafe for months and months?"

"These are technical assignments and the fact that it's not safe for 26 tons. Is it safe for 25? That's not an option. It is either 26 tons or nothing," said Brian Loftus, Grosse Ile supervisor. 

The Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge over the Trenton Channel was built in the 1930s and is a Wayne County bridge. It is free to use and maintained by the county.

The county's Public Services Director Beverly Watts said there was a visual inspection done in August but the engineering team didn't get some of their data back until this week and once they realized the issue, they closed the bridge.

When it was shut down a spokeswoman said their consultants relayed there was "deck deterioration."

"I don't agree with what they are doing," said Dennis Winters, a Grosse Ile resident. "They sprung up all of a sudden at 7 o'clock in the evening and closed the free bridge."
Watts says the closure is temporary, but she isn't sure on a timeline. Preliminary designs for a fix have been submitted. 

The county says they hope for a more definitive plan early next week and construction to begin in the spring of 2020. What that will mean for closures is also unclear.

Until the free bridge is open, the supervisor says get an electronic pass for the toll bridge which comes with a discount. The fee to get over and back without one is $10. 

The township supervisor says he has a meeting with the county on Wednesday and should know more then.