TV5 has learned that despite plans for the Independence Bridge in Bay City to open weeks ago, it will still be about another three weeks before drivers can cross it.
On Friday, April 20, the city manager's office said the Bay City Commission was told the bridge will remain closed for up to three more weeks.
Work was originally scheduled to wrap-up on March 31, but due to what we are told were “unforeseen circumstances, the balancing has become more complex."
In communications to TV5, the city manager’s office said engineers are working around the clock to determine the necessary materials and procedures to balance the bridge and open it safely, without damaging or putting additional wear on the mechanical system.
In an earlier interview with TV5, City Manager Dana Muscott said both sides of the drawbridge don’t weigh the same.
“It’s a very important part of the bridge to make sure it’s safe for people to go over because of the weight of the grates when people travel over them,” Muscott said.
In that earlier interview, Muscott also said the Independence Bridge must be open by April 30. She said the Coast Guard wants to make sure the shipping lanes are available by then.
The bridge is a lifeline for the businesses on Wilder Road.
Matt Skedal, with Herbal Remedies, said they have been hit hard since the bridge was closed.
"It's probably effected at least half out business," Skedal said. "It's definitely frustrating. It's a huge destination point. People go through that area. It cuts off a lot."
The employees at One Up games are seeing less people too.
"We've seen a little bit of a dip. It's definitely inconvenient not being able to use the main road if you live in Essexville or out in the Thumb," said Justin McKinnon, with One Up Games.
Mark Reichter, another employee at One Up Games, commutes from Essexville. He said the detours have been a headache.
"Since you have to commute over the other bridges they've had wear and tear done on them. They've closed it down to single lane traffic. It's making it even slower to get to work," Reichter said.
Reichter is just hoping it won't get delayed again.
"Maybe one day I'll be driving home and I'll be like 'hey, the bridge is open. Thank God,'" Reichter said.
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