No funds means no repairs for about a dozen bridges closed in Genesee County

GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) (4/10/2018) - The Reid Road bridge is physically crumbling, like others currently closed to traffic around Genesee County.

The Genesee County Road Commission this year alone closed nearly a dozen bridges. There are no plans in the works to repair them because there is no funding.

"It's straight up a funding issue," says Alex Patsy, an engineer with the road commission.

He said a two-lane bridge on a two-lane road costs about $750,000 to $1 million to repair.

Eight more bridges were deemed unsafe for travel after this year's annual round of inspections, in addition to other bridges already closed.

The road commission said that most of these bridges haven't experienced any trauma, but they're just old and deteriorating.

"The road commission has 122 bridges that we inspect on a regular basis," Patsy said. "Fifty percent of them almost, 47 percent, were built in the 1920s and '30s."

He said the Grand Blanc Road bridge got emergency repairs when it was closed in March because of how highly traveled it is. Bridges like the Mill Road bridge and Lily bridge just don't have enough usage.

"The prioritization that the other bridges do, because its a low volume road, it's a gravel road and it's expensive," Patsy said.

So expensive that the state of Michigan can only give funding for maybe only a handful of bridges to be replaced.

"The only way I could see a way out of this situation is the Legislature reprioritizing the needs of the state," Patsy said.

This funding problem doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so the road commission is looking for funding anywhere. Officials have applied for state funding to make permanent repairs to the Grand Blanc Road bridge.

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