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      Emmet County bridges amongst worst in state

      A new report reveals that bridges in one northern Michigan county are some of the worst in the state.

      T he study released by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association says Emmet County has the second worst percentage of deteriorating bridges.

      One of those bridges is the Maple River Bridge. On the surface it doesn't look too bad.

      B ut when you look underneath , it's a concerning sight.

      "T he steel beams themselves are probably 70 to 80 years old so those are the ones that have to be taken out ," Brian Gutowski, Emmet County Road Commission Manager said.

      R ust is eating through the beams , the concrete foundation has massive cracks, and the railing is out of date. This bridge is deemed structurally deficient.

      "T hey are still safe, " Gutowski said. "O n a couple of bridges in our county we had to post on them because the condition of the bridge is getting such that have your trucks can no longer passover them safely."

      Forty-eight percent of Emmet County's 31 bridges are deemed either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.

      T he responsibility for those bridges are split up between the road commission, MDOT and local cities. But fixing these bridges is no easy task.

      "W e have to compete against every other road commission in the state and we have to compete against the cities to try to get that funding ," Gutowski said.

      R eplacing a bridge like the Maple River Bridge would cost the Emmet County road commission $900,000.

      E ach year the department gets $2,400 from the state for each mile of road in the county. Which means for this tiny bridge, they would need to save up for 375 years.

      A t this point its still unclear if lawmakers will take any action to fix the state's aging bridges.

      And in the meantime , the only thing road commissions can do is apply for grant funding.