Company proposes toll bridges for Bay City - WNEM TV 5

Company proposes toll bridges for Bay City

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Would you pay a toll to cross the Saginaw River?

That's the idea being tossed around for a couple of Bay City bridges.

The two bridges are traveled by thousands of people every day and could soon be privately owned.

The bridges are in desperate need of millions of dollars in repairs and a private company is offering to fix them up.

"For someone to take over those bridges and do that maintenance would help our city out tremendously," said Dana Muscott, acting city manager for Bay City.

United Bridge Partners is the private firm that wants to take control of the Independence and Liberty bridges. The move would free the city from owning, operating and maintaining the structures.

"I think once the residents see how the savings could be eventually down the road, they will be on board that this is the best option for the city," Muscott said.

The company wants to build a new 120 foot tall fixed bridge to replace the Independence drawbridge.

Public Works Director William Bohlen said the move could save the city millions of dollars in maintenance and repair costs.

"It would allows us to them re-divert those monies into what I would hope is road improvements that are desperately needed throughout the community," Bohlen said.

He said United Bridge Partners plan to charge tolls on the bridges. Despite the added cost to drivers, he said the city should seriously consider the proposal.

"We have done such a poor job over the last 30 years on maintaining infrastructure in my opinion because of lack of funding, that this is going to be our saving grace a little bit for here in Bay City," Bohlen said.

He said tolls could be $1 for residents and $2 for non-residents on the Independence Bridge and 50 cents for residents and $1 for non-residents on the Liberty Bridge.

Muscott was quick to point out the plans have not been finalized. She said there are many more meetings and discussions ahead.

"We haven't decided on this. We're obviously going to have this company back to present to the commission and get into more of the details," Muscott said.

The Independence Bridge is a little more than 40-years-old and the Liberty Bridge is just more than 30-years-old.

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