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Independence Bridge is a drawbridge in Bay City. It carries Truman Parkway over the Saginaw River and was opened in 1973 to replace the earlier Belinda Street Bridge (built in 1893).
Until 1864, the only means to traverse the Saginaw River between West Bay City and Bay City was by boat or ferry. The Third Street Bridge crossing played an important role in the growth of these communities, which merged as one Bay City in 1905. In 1976, the old reliable swing span bridge mysteriously collapsed one evening after opening to allow the passing of a lake freighter. A great debate followed about the location of its replacement, the Vermont – Woodside connection just north of it won out and the Liberty Bridge was built, a four lane draw bridge. (Alan Flood)
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Bridge openings for the passage of recreational vessels only for Independence and Veterans bridge occur from 3 minutes before to 3 minutes after the hour and half-hour, and the Liberty Street and Lafayette Street Bridges open for the passage of recreational vessels only from 3 minutes before to 3 minutes after the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour.
Draws of the Independence Bridge, Liberty Bridge, Veterans Memorial Bridge, and the Lafayette Bridge, all in Bay City shall open on signal except as follows:
Map of Bay City Bridge Locations (PDF)
These regulations are excerpts from the U.S. Coast Pilot, Saginaw River Drawbridge, Navigational Regulations and should be adhered to by our recreational boaters as well as commercial freighters.
117.11 Unnecessary Opening of the Draw
No vessel owner or operator shall:
a. Signal a drawbridge to open if the vertical clearance is sufficient to allow the vessel, after all lowerable nonstructural vessel appurtenances that are not essential to navigation have been lowered to safety to pass under the drawbridge in the closed position; or
b. Signal a drawbridge to open for any purpose other than to pass through the drawbridge opening.
(b) Sound Signals
117.21 Signaling for an Opened Drawbridge
When a vessel approaches a drawbridge with the draw in the open position, the vessel shall give the opening signal. If no acknowledgment is received within 30 seconds, the vessel may proceed, with caution, through the open draw.
117.31 Operation of Draw for Emergency Situations
a. When a drawtender is informed by a reliable source that an emergency vehicle is due to cross the draw, the drawtender shall take all reasonable measures to have the draw closed at the time the emergency vehicle arrives at the bridge.
b. When a drawtender receives notice, or a proper signal as provided in 117.15 of this part, the drawtender shall take all reasonable measures to have the draw opened, regardless of the operating schedule of the draw, for passage of the following, provided this opening does not conflict with local emergency management procedures which have been approved by the cognizant Coast Guard Captain of the Port:
The Bridge, Traffic & Operations website is available for study findings and general information. The study findings were presented to the City Commission on November 19, and the final report was presented to the community at the Public Meeting on December 11.
The study examined current and projected traffic volumes, crash history, and costs for five scenarios. It also included community input via surveys both online and on paper that we available at City Hall, environmental constraints, and mitigation consisting of redesign options to accommodate changes in traffic patterns if a bridge were to be removed.
This study is the first step in developing a solution to the City’s struggle to maintain Liberty and Independence Bridges. Now that five of City’s options have been developed and compared, the next steps will be an Economic Impact Study, the City Commission’s direction on the option to pursue, and funding pursuits.
Bay City Bridge, Traffic, and Operations Study Final Report
Related Documents:Bridge Study – Final Report 12-10-18Bridge Study Public Presentation 12-10-18Displays for Public Meeting 12-11-18Bridge Study Public Presentation 8-30-1820180122 – Independence and Liberty Bridge Discussion – Mtg 120180122 – James Barcia Letter re- Independence BridgeBay City Bascule Bridges