RIVER ROUGE (WWJ/AP) – Officials say a drawbridge connecting the cities of Detroit and River Rouge that’s been closed since 2013 likely will be closed for another year.
Built in 1922, the Jefferson Avenue bridge has been idle since May 2013 after an operator lowered it onto a freighter. Earlier this summer, Wayne County entered into a two-year, $16.7 million contract with a Grand Haven company to fix the disabled drawbridge — but residents are frustrated by how long it’s taken to get repairs done.
River Rouge City Councilman and former mayor Dan Cooney says the bridge’s immobility has “turned the city into a dead end street.”
“Everything on Jefferson in this city is either dying or dead,” Cooney told the Detroit News. “People are suffering. And it’s not just River Rouge that’s hurting. All Downriver is suffering. … People are losing their jobs and it’s not their fault.”
A county spokesperson said the drawbridge project is scheduled to finish in August 2016, barring any delays.
After the incident, authorities determined the operator was drunk when she lowered the bridge onto the top of the 690-foot freighter Herbert C. Jackson. No one was injured. The bridge operator, a 17-year county employee, was arrested after the incident and later fired.
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