Hines Drive bridge ‘repair’ unsafe for fire trucks

Jun. 24, 2019  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Don Howard

Staff Writer

The long awaited re-opening of the Hines Park bridge closed last year after a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) inspection revealed serious safety issues may not be the news Plymouth Township Fire Department officials were hoping for.

Last week Manager Kevin Gunn of the Wayne County Bridge Division said because the bridges were not re-built, but repaired, there would be restrictions on the weight limits.

Gunn said when the bridges are re-opened the county will impose a new less-than-3-ton vehicle weight restriction that will force township fire and emergency vehicles to continue to take a time-consuming detour through a residential area when responding to the northeast part of the township, including its largest subdivision, Lake Pointe.

Plymouth Township Fire Chief Dan Phillips said the weight restrictions “will definitely add to our response time,” should equipment be required from Fire Station No. 1, on Haggerty. The fire department has had a long-established detour through Hines Park because of the probability of trains blocking the crossing at Haggerty Road.

Gunn said the new 26,000 to 32,000 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) restrictions would allow, “cars, buses, fire engines, trucks and cyclists” to use the bridges.

Phillips said the newest of the township fire engines weighs 56,000 pounds and he has had “no assurance they (the bridges) are safe.”

Type C school buses, also known as “Conventional” typically range between 23,500 and 29,500 GVWR, depending on seating capacity. Type D school buses, also known as “Transit-Style-engine behind the wind- shield,” weigh between 25,000 and 36,000 GVWR. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for school buses is the estimated total weight of a school bus that is loaded to capacity, including the weight of the vehicle itself, plus fuel, passengers and other miscellaneous items.

On June 10, Wayne County Parks received notification from the road com- mission that the repair work on the first of four bridges was complete and set to re- open. The bridges were initially slated for a complete rebuild after MDOT inspectors found stress cracks in the center slabs they said made the structures unsafe for both pedestrians and motorists.

In April of last year Wayne County Director of Roads, Mike Gorman, abruptly closed three of the four bridges located in Plymouth Township that cross the Rouge River along with another located in Livonia, near I-275.

It took the county almost nine months decide whether to rebuild or replace the bridges, complete design plans, conduct a competitive bid inquiry and find a con- tractor to start the work. A statement from MDOT officials said the identical bridges; all built in 1932, needed a complete replacement and were past their planned life span. The county opted for a repair, rather than replacement, according to Gunn.

The bridge located on Hines Drive at Haggerty Road is the first re-build completed. A second bridge located west at Hines and Woods Drive and third bridge located on Hines west of the Northville Road is set to re-open by the first of August, according to information provided by the county.


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