River Rouge residents: 'Fix the damn bridge!' - FOX 32 News Chicago

River Rouge residents: 'Fix the damn bridge!'

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RIVER ROUGE, Mich. (WJBK) -

River Rouge resident Dan Cooney is launching a campaign called 'Fix the Damn Bridge'. The city council member and former mayor says his town has been slowly dying since the Jefferson Avenue bridge went out last year.

The bridge has been out since last May when a drunk bridge operator lowered the bridge onto a freighter. Traffic from Zug Island to downriver used to mean a steady stream of business for Main Street, but not anymore.

Cooney says an average of 8 thousand to 10 thousand cars crossed that bridge everyday, but now nobody's going anywhere.

"We had industry over on the other side of the bridge that come here everyday. I haven't seen them in a year. It's just killing us," says Bob Lozon. For 90 years his family has had a hardware store on Jefferson Avenue. He's had to lay off five employees and the county's telling them it could be the end of next year before that bridge is fixed.

"I don't know if we can survive. It's just going to be horrible," he says. Traffic continues to be detoured around town.

"From last year to this year I think we're down about 25, 30 percent," an employee at the Coolidge Inn Bar tells FOX 2's Amy Lange.

More than business revenue is suffering. Response times for emergency personnel have nearly doubled from four minutes to at least seven minutes, and if an emergency happens on Zug Island that could be the difference between life and death.

"Public safety is a major concern of ours. Our residents, our neighbors, our relatives all work over there," says Cooney.

Cooney says the schools have been impacted, too. School buses are endangered by having to transport kids via the highway. Cooney has sent Wayne Co. Executive Robert Ficano a letter detailing all of this. The city of River Rouge is getting ready to sue the county because of it.

Their message is simple - and it's one you'll hear over and over again: 'Fix the Damn Bridge.'

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