If Moroun’s ballot proposal passes, a statewide and local vote would be needed to permit Harsen’s Island bridge

Harsens Island bridge faces obstacles

Project should meet resident approval

By Beth LeBlanc | Times Herald

Dan Stamper has a lot of hurdles to clear before a project to build a bridge to Harsens Island could proceed, but his main concern seems to be focused on island residents.

In a statement, Stamper, who is president of Detroit International Bridge Company, said a bridge project should be contingent on resident approval.

On Aug. 15, Stamper announced he would revive plans for a bridge from Algonac to Harsens Island after a retirement announcement from the island’s ferry operator.

The company introduced plans for a bridge in 2007, but “shelved” them when the recession hit.

Now Stamper wants to resurrect the project with approval from island residents.

“Any construction of a permanent and reliable vehicle crossing to connect Harsens Island to the mainland should be contingent on the approval of the people of Harsens Island, and should not be imposed without regard to the choice of those that would be served,” Stamper wrote.

“Our company would seek dialogue with the residents of Harsens Island and ultimately a vote of the people to address the actual transportation needs.”

Patrick Feighan, president of the Harsens Island St. Clair Flats Association, said he received an email from Stamper on Aug. 17 asking to present bridge plans at the Sept. 8 board of directors meeting.

Feighan said he was not sure the board meeting would be the place to discuss the bridge project.

“There is a concern that a Harsens Island St. Clair Flats Association board of directors meeting is not the proper venue for such a meeting,” Feighan wrote in an email. “The bridge and all its ramifications is a concern to the community as a whole, not just Harsens Island.”

Instead, Feighan said the board will discuss Stamper’s request at the Sept. 8 board meeting, determining whether the association or Clay Township would facilitate the presentation.

“A concern on the board is that perhaps the proper venue lies with Clay Township and the proper meeting place is the Township Hall,” Feighan said.

In addition to resident concerns, Stamper also must gain approval from various government entities, including the Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Michigan Department of Transportation.

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