After a Three Year Delay, “The Damn Bridge Is Fixed” Over Rouge River

After years of being closed, the West Jefferson Avenue–Rouge River Bridge has re-opened. The passage between southwest Detroit and River Rouge had been closed since 2013 after an operator lowered the drawbridge onto a passing barge. Now, residents who had called on Wayne County officials to, “Fix the Damn Bridge” are celebrating its reopening. Detroit City Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López says re-connecting Detroit and River Rouge is important to many people. 

It’s a bridge that a lot of the fishermen and fisher-people use to go between the two cities, and then there’s a part of Detroit, the original southwest part 48217 zip code that uses this bridge a lot as well to get back and forth, so really there were parts of the city that were completely disconnected and now, with the bridge opening, we have better access.”

Raquel Castañeda-López, Detroit City Council

Eli Newman / WDET

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says the closure had substantial economic impact on the commercial corridor.

If you talk to the store-owners up and down Jefferson, they’ve taken a significant loss and I think some of them even closed their businesses because they couldn’t weather the storm.”

Warren Evans, Wayne County Executive

Evans says the contract to fix the West Jefferson Avenue–Rouge River Bridge took about a year to complete. Officials say that contract cost nearly $17 million.

Image credit: Eli Newman / WDET

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