County officials eluding real-story on bridge closures
Dec. 20, 2018 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Frustrated Plymouth and Northville residents still have no answer from Wayne County officials as to when Hines Drive will open.
Many residents accuse county officials of dodging the question while a recent TV report quotes Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reports that there is no set date to reopen the high-traffic roadway. That report contrasts with comments from the Wayne County Department of Public Services (DPS) claiming that bids for design work on the bridge repair project has finally been completed and bid are just now going to the purchasing department. They claim the goal is to repair all the closed Hines Drive bridges by summer, 2019.
The Hines Parkway bridges have been closed since April when officials from the Wayne County Road Commission and Wayne County Parks abruptly determined them as unsafe. In a bulletin addressed to Tupac Hunter, Wayne County chief of external affairs, Wayne County Public Services executive Bernard Parker stated that an MDOT inspection report stressed the closure of the two bridges located in Plymouth township “due to shear cracks.
“The bridges, built in 1932, are identical and should be completely replaced,” stated Country Deputy Director of Roads Mike Gorman at the time. Gorman said the bridges were past their design life.
“If the county budget permits simultaneous construction (of the three bridges), repairs would take about a year from the commencement date. The bridges will remain closed until that work can be complete.”
“It all has to do with budget,” Gorman stated, regarding any time frame for completion.
In a surprise move, 20 days later without further explanation, after ‘road closed’ signs were posted at Haggerty and Wilcox, Parker, in an email, advised Plymouth Township officials that Hines drive had been “re-opened.”
“After completing a detailed inspection, the weight restrictions for three Hines Drive bridges have been updated and the bridges will be open,” read the Wayne County press release. However, when the bridges were re-opened the county imposed a new 3-ton vehicle weight restriction that forced township fire and emergency vehicles to take a time-consuming detour through a residential area from Station 1.
Last summer, the three bridges were once again completely closed by the county and currently the fire department still must use that longer and slower route though side streets when responding calls from Lake Pointe, the largest subdivision in the township. Of the 32 bridges on Hines Parkway, two of those currently closed span the Rouge River. The first is located just west of Haggerty and the second is further west on Haggerty just past Woods Drive. A third bridge is located west of I- 275 where the park drive passes beneath the freeway.
WXYZ reporter Heather Catallo said that despite repeated requests for an interview with members of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans’ staff, county spokeswoman Whitney Lewis, “refused to let us talk to them on camera about the bridges.”
Photo: © Don Howard / Associated Newspapers