Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved new legislation to help redevelop Liberty and Independence Bridges in Bay City.
A public-private partnership has been approved that will allow Bay City Bridge Partners to lease Liberty and Independence bridges from Bay City in order to improve both structures.
“It’s been a little more difficult to try and meet with people and get things like these bills passed, but we’re excited to get started and get the economy going with this big project,” said Kevin Bischel, project director at Bay City Bridge Partners.
Bischel says despite the pandemic, this new set of laws will allow repairs to continue smoothly after the city and bridge partners entered into an agreement in January of 2020.
He says they’re still on track to begin construction later this year, in accordance with city, state and federal requirements.
“We hope to start some activities maybe in the fall, ordering material. But most construction will start in 2022 and continue into 2023,” he said.
And Bay City City Manager Dana Muscott says this is a major benefit to those in the city, who have been wanting to see these bridges repaired.
“We’ve been working alongside of them with maintenance, and they have been very tight to their schedule, which we appreciate because residents knew this happened a year ago and people were waiting for things to happen,” Muscott said.
She also says this legislation wouldn’t have happened without the bipartisan support in the state senate, and credits Senator Ken Horn of Frankenmuth for spearheading the bill in Lansing.
And Muscott believes when all is said and done, this will give Bay City’s residents something to be proud of.
“At the end, we’re going to have two beautiful bridges,” Muscott said. “They’re going to be safe and it’s going to be a good pathway from the east to the westside and vice versa.”