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Now what for bayou bridge?

• Updated Jul 29, 2019 at 3:39 PM

There is little doubt that the bridge over Smith’s Bayou in Ferrysburg is no longer usable for vehicle traffic, but what will happen now?

Citizens are certainly entitled to a second opinion. And we applaud those chipping in to pay for a $2,000 second study, though we suspect they will only find out what we already know.

The West Spring Lake Road bridge has been crumbling for some time. Experts say it took a turn for the worse over the winter, and that’s why the Ferrysburg City Council voted in June to close it down to all but foot and bicycle traffic. It could no longer handle cars, let alone heavy trucks.

A disaster may have been in the offing, and city officials did the right thing in putting public safety above politics.

So, now what?

Ferrysburg voters have already rejected a millage to fund an expensive project to rebuild the bridge. The council is mulling over another proposal to put before city voters that could add up to as much as 4.5 mills on their property tax bills. That’s just too much to ask.

The state’s coffers are slim pickings for road and bridge projects. With so many bridges and roads crumbling all across Michigan, there is only so much to go around.

We’re not optimistic that the state will be able to chip in any significant dollars for the estimated $13 million project. We wish that isn’t the case, but reality is what it is.

So, now what?

The city’s hands are tied. It has to ask the state for funding; that’s Plan B. If that comes in as a “no,” or falls far short of what is needed and what the city can match, then it’s back to Plan A: Ask the city voters again to foot the bill. If voters say “no” again, then it’s on to Plan C.

We’re not aware of a Plan C, but we’re willing to bet Ferrysburg City Manager Craig Bessinger and his staff have thought of one or two.

May we suggest asking city residents and businesses for ideas on what to do in the invent the bridge can’t be replaced? They are the ones most affected by this.

Another idea is to seek financial help from neighbors, such as Spring Lake Township. While each side of the bridge lands in Ferrysburg, there are many non-Ferrysburg residents who have routinely traveled over it and are now inconvenienced by its closing.

We’ll be waiting to see what’s next for Ferrysburg’s bridge over the bayou.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Matt DeYoung, Mark Brooky, Duncan MacLean and Alexander Sinn. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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