A deadly disaster in Florida is impacting the future of two Bay City bridges.
Last year, six people were killed after a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed.
FIGG Bridge Design was the firm behind the foot bridge.
A new report from OSHA shows there were cracks in the bridge and after inspecting it the day of the collapse, designers and engineers said the cracks posed no safety issues.
The report said the cracks in the structure warranted an immediate closure of the street the bridge collapsed onto.
FIGG was at one time considered in a proposal for Bay City’s Independence and Liberty Bridges.
Bay City leaders say United Bridge Partners no longer lists the company on its proposal.
“The bridges need love,” Bay City Commission President Kerice Basmadjian said.
The Liberty Bridge and the Independence Bridge in Bay City are both in need of serious repairs.
“We’ve been doing basic maintenance on them over the years but unfortunately they’ve gotten to the point where they almost need to either be completely taken down or a full remodel,” Basmadjian said.
It has been estimated that the city would have to spend anywhere from $26 million to $137 million to repair or replace both bridges.
Those potential costs were outlined in a report on the various options available to the city, which included repairing both bridges and tearing down or replacing one of them.
“Residents have really seen the impact it would be without a bridge. Also, that’s a huge impact for the Midland Street businesses,” Basmadjian said.
Which is why Basmadjian wants to make sure both bridges stay open. She issued requests for proposals from bridge companies to see what they could offer.
The city commission plans to have multiple companies give presentations on their plans for both bridges. After receiving input from the public, they will make their final decision.
Basmadjian said the plan is to bring the companies to Bay City for a public meeting next month so residents can hear directly from them and provide input.
She knows Bay City residents have a lot of questions and thoughts about the different proposals and she hopes the meeting will provide some answers.
“The end game is that we want the bridges to be safe for everyone in Bay City and coming through Bay City,” Basmadjian said.