Ring out the Old Year, Bring in the New Year
A year ago we were looking forward to getting the bridge plans complete and going out to bid with high expectations of constructing the new replica bridge in 2016. Our fund raising was successful, we had commitments for sufficient funds to build the new bridge.
We got our plans approved by the Local Agency Program of MDOT and were listed in the August letting. Since contractors will be contractors, questions about the timber specifications didn’t come up until the week before the bid opening. Since the questions were of a pretty technical nature, the questions couldn’t be answered in just a few days, so we requested the project be pulled from the letting.
Since the questions were quite technical in nature, the discussions with a couple contractors, a couple timber suppliers and several wood experts took several months. The good news is the specifications were revised and the cost of the large timbers was reduced by over $60,000. The bad news from the contractors was our construction estimate was low. Low to the point, the project no longer has sufficient funds to complete the project.
So as we end 2016, we have completed plans, approved plans, but insufficient funds.
So, where are we going in 2017? Our shortfall at the current time is about $425,000.We have begun a second round of fund raising. We approached the MDOT Local Bridge Program who said we can apply for additional funding June 1st. We have prepared / are preparing requests to many West Michigan foundations. We hope they will be receptive to our request since we now have a track record of raising over $500,000 for the project so far.
We are entering 2017, disappointed that we are not ready to start construction but enthusiastic that we will be successful in our fund raising and will be able to build the replica bridge.
Happy New Year 🙂
Tom Byle, President
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WBHS In the News:
Ionia County Road Commission (ICRC) is awarded MDOT grant for rebuilding Whites Bridge! (MLive)
Bridgefest Press Release on MLive
WBHS-DNR Partnership Article on MLive
1 Year Anniversary Coverage on MLive
WZZM 13: MyTown Article
January 21, 2014 Daily News Article
WOOD TV 8 Coverage of Bridge Remains Removal
August 7, 2013 MLive Article
Thank You Letter to FRWB from Ionia County