LOWELL, Mich. – Just months after a historic bridge was set on fire in Ionia County steps are being taken to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to the Fallasburg Bridge in Vergennes Township, near Lowell.
The Kent County Road Commission along with the Kent County Parks Department and Vergennes Township have agreed to split the cost of keeping the wooden covered bridge safe.
The iconic Fallasburg Bridge has stood over the Flat River since 1871. Not only does it allow passage in Vergennes Township but it also stands as a point of pride for people living there.
The same people who voiced concern to Vergennes Township Supervisor, Tim Wittenbach, “It was actually a number of residents that started calling me and wanted to do something and simultaneously the road commission was actually looking into it with the parks commission.”
This fall work began to coat the bridge in fire retardant paint, “They actually took a piece of wood tested it with the flame retardant,” said Wittenbach.
The supervisor said the precautions don’t stop there. The plan in the near future is to install lights on the bridge in an effort to keep vandals away, “We figure people that like to do things in the dark are less apt to do those things,” he said.
Signs of the bridge being ‘under surveillance’ foreshadowed what will be coming next. Wittenbach said cameras will be installed at both ends of the bridge.
“The road commission is going to monitor that a little more closely and just security activities that might go on,” he said.
The township estimates their share of the cost will be around $8,000 to complete the phases. Wittenbach said the community has shown a commitment to preserving the bridge for the future.
“It’s nice to be able to drive through them and use them as a functional part of the road system,” said Wittenbach.
Another function of the cameras will be to catch vehicles that may be over the weight limit and prevent damage to the bridge.