Bay City Scores Federal Cash for ‘Long Overdue’ Bridge Replacement

Lafayette Avenue Bridge (Courtesy/City of Bay City)

By Kyle Kaminski

April 18, 2023

A federal grant provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will enable a long-sought replacement project for the Lafayette Avenue Bridge over the Saginaw River in Bay City.

MICHIGAN—Wondering how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law benefits Michigan?

It’ll help pay to replace a crumbling bridge in Bay City, for one.

Federal lawmakers from Michigan last week announced a $73 million federal grant that will help Bay City replace the deteriorating, 85-year-old Lafayette Avenue Bridge over the Saginaw River.

State officials said the repairs will save drivers time and money, and help keep traffic and commerce flowing across the Bay Region.

“This long-overdue investment in the Lafayette Avenue Bridge will make Michigan more competitive and create good-paying jobs,” US Rep. Dan Kildee said in a statement last week.

Ask anyone in the region: They’ll tell you the bridge has seen better days. Rebar is showing through the worn pavement and the concrete sidewalks are crumbling, MLive reports. The state has tried to make repairs, but was forced to postpone the project in 2019 due to the costs.

With the new infusion of federal cash, the basic repairs will now be covered—as will new features designed to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation, officials said in a statement.

“This significant investment in Bay City will help replace this aging bridge—improving quality of life, helping residents commute to school and work more reliably,” said US Sen. Gary Peters.

“After 85 years of service, temporary closures, and repairs, the replacement is long overdue,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in a statement. “Because of our passage of the federal Infrastructure law, this investment will make this bridge safe for drivers and pedestrians for years to come.”

The funding was provided through the federal Bridge Investment Program, which got an infusion of money after Peters, Stabenow, and Kildee voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021

Bay City Scores Federal Cash for 'Long Overdue' Bridge Replacement
President Joe Biden greets Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., after speaking on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, during an event on clean cars and trucks. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Bridge Investment Program provides federal funding for bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preservation and protection—all with the goal of improving safety, efficiency and reliability. 

Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed in 2021, at least $5.2 billion in federal cash has been allocated to upgrading Michigan’s highways, transit and water systems, and more.

READ MORE: What Michigan Has Gotten Out Of Biden’s Infrastructure Law (So Far)

Since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took office in 2019, nearly 20,000 lane miles of roads and over 1,400 bridges have also been repaired or replaced—including a $700,000 project that finished earlier this year to prepare the Lafayette Avenue Bridge for the upcoming replacement project.

Reconstruction of the Lafayette Bridge is set to begin next year, officials said. 

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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