Learning their options, city now tasked with deciding what to do with aging drawbridges

While it’s not yet known what will happen to two city-owned bridges, what seems clear is that something must happen.

Repair them. Replace them. Sell them to a private company. It’s all on the table for two Bay City drawbridges, Liberty and Independence.

As the city weighs its options, it’s hired OHM Advisors to consult.

A public meeting was held Tuesday, Dec. 11 where representatives from OHM Advisors outlined the results of their study. And according to a report from ABC 12 WJRT, that group suggests that the city tears down both bridges and replace the Independence Bridge with a new span. That idea registers a more than $100 million price tag.

Another option includes continuing making repairs. But even that will cost the city tens of million dollars.

A third option recently presented itself with Denver’s United Bridge Partners offering to buy the bridges. While that would obviously save the city millions of dollars, it also presents them with the uncomfortable fact that the private company would begin charging tolls to cover the costs.

"I’ve been impressed with city leadership. They’re doing this the right way. There’ve been no rash decisions: They’ve been engaged with OHM. They’ve had discussions with United Bridge Partners," says Ryan Tarrant, President and CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

"We need to look at traffic patterns and the economic impact to inform what we want to do as a community."

Being with the Chamber of Commerce, Tarrant is concerned with how removing one of the bridges could affect local businesses.

While nothing is set in stone, the picture is getting clearer.

"We’ve gotten to the point where everything’s been done the right way to gather information. And now the info is there," Tarrant says.

"We’re getting to the point to use that information to make decisions."

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