7-10 Lobdell bridge to Turtle IslandC_hannah-6.jpg

 The unauthorized drawbridge on Lobdell Lake will reportedly be taken out on Tuesday, Aug. 13. 

 The structure, which connects Whitehead Drive to Turtle Island, was installed July 8 without legal permits. It’s owned by Brett DeGayner. 

 According to Scott Dean, strategic communications advisor with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), DeGayner’s attorney informed them that the drawbridge will be removed Aug. 13. 

 DeGayner had the drawbridge installed despite receiving a stop work order to the ire of neighbors and officials. Neighboring residents of the property on Whitehead Drive have put up signs in their yards protesting the structure. 

 EGLE sent DeGayner a letter on July 18, which stated the original deadline to remove the structure was July 28. The drawbridge was not removed by that date. The letter outlined which particular state laws the drawbridge is in violation of. It was installed without permits, and the letter stated EGLE would not have approved the structure regardless.

 EGLE’s website, miwaters.deq.state.mi.us, contains evaluations and inspections by EGLE representatives. They are available to the public. 

 According to this website, the bridge is 150 feet long and consists of two steel pontoons about 12 feet wide and 50-plus feet long, each with a ramp on the landward end. The pontoons have steel railings on the side, but the ramps and drawbridge do not. 

 The drawbridge section, which is battery operated, is about 20 feet long. It uses a single steel cable to raise and lower the steel deck. 

 “While the historical navigation route is near the center of the channel and is reported to be 6 feet deep, the drawbridge is in shallow water/wetland near the island,” according to a report. 

 One evaluation states that the structure does not have any lights, reflectors, flags or other markers. 

 According to an inspection report, DeGayner told the state that the structure would allow access to the island for vehicles. He planned to leave the drawbridge down in the winter and up in the summer, except when vehicles needed to cross it. 

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