Stories indexed with the term ‘bridge’

In it for the Money: Kleptocracy

Editor’s note: Nelson’s “In it for the Money” opinion column appears regularly in The Chronicle, roughly around the third Wednesday of the month. Nelson is sort of a long-winded son-of-a-gun. If you want to read very short things by Nelson, more frequently than once a month, you can follow him on Twitter, where he’s @SquiDaveo

David Erik Nelson Column

David Erik Nelson

I didn’t initially intend to write an overtly political column this month. I actually had something nice all framed out, about how to talk politics civilly with friends and family. Then Matty Moroun took to hammering me daily with his pro-Prop 6/Prop 5 craziness, and I just went totally bat-shit insane.

Here’s the skinny, in case you’re bailing on me here: A billionaire is hijacking our state constitution in order to lock-in his near monopoly on commercial access to the nation of Canada. This is a for-real super-villain-style power play. Odds are you are on the verge of inadvertently helping this one-tenth-of-1-percenter screw us all for generations to come.

Your action on Nov. 6: Vote NO on Proposals 5 and 6.

If you can’t stomach another political jeremiad this ballot season, I respect where you’re coming from. But please give me 12 minutes to convince you that no sane Michigander who doesn’t already own a bridge to Canada would ever want Prop 6 to pass.  [Full Story]

How the E. Stadium Bridge Gets Monitored

E. Stadium Bridge, Ann Arbor

Michael Nearing, an engineer with the city of Ann Arbor, wields a hammer. The hammer was used for two different purposes: "sounding" the concrete for structural integrity and clearing away de-laminated concrete so that it would not fall on cars below.

Since late February, the East Stadium Boulevard bridge over State Street has funneled vehicles across the span in just two of the available four lanes. The lane reduction is a strategy to protect the fifth – counting from the southern edge of the bridge – of the 16 beams in the structure. That fifth beam is “sagging” 7/8 of an inch lower than other beams in the bridge. So traffic is currently restricted to the northern lanes. [Previous Chronicle coverage of the bridge provides additional background.]

In her update to city council in early March, Sue McCormick, the city’s director of public services, indicated that the bridge was being closely monitored in order to verify the safety of the bridge. Here at The Chronicle, we wondered what “monitoring” entailed. [Full Story]

Building Bridges

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (March 1, 2009): At Sunday’s caucus, Mayor John Hieftje assessed the Ann Arbor city council agenda for Monday as “fairly light.” That’s also an accurate description of the kind of loads the Stadium Boulevard bridge over State Street can currently bear – with deterioration of the structure leading to two weight limit reductions in the last year, and a reduction of traffic to two lanes last week.

Exposed Strands Stadium Bridge

Stadium Boulevard bridge at State Street: Seven pre-stressing strands exposed on beam 5. The strands run east-west – that is, in the direction of the bridge's span.

Even though it is not yet reflected on the agenda for Monday, it’s expected that Sue McCormick, public services director of the city of Ann Arbor, will brief council on the bridge at the start of its meeting.

Some of the handful of residents at caucus were there to inquire about the bridge (and city finances in general), while others were there to weigh in on the A2D2 (Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown) rezoning process, which the planning commission is literally in the midst of deliberating. [Full Story]

Discontent Emerges at Council Caucus

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Feb. 1, 2009): The four Ann Arbor councilmembers who convened for caucus on Sunday night heard voices of dissent from the public on the police-courts facility, plus the expression of discontent from some of their own on a range of issues – from as-yet unapproved zoning standards to fiscal policy. Based on the Sunday night caucus, possible outcomes from Monday’s council meeting could include the elimination of the new council/public meeting space from the police-courts project and the tabling of the Farmers Market renovation. [Full Story]