Troubled Bridge Over Quiet Waters? WITH VIDEO

The Tienken Road Bridge near the Historical District in Rochester Hills has been under construction for over four months now.  The various rumors heard around town range from the contractor ordering the wrong trusses to the City not measuring the river’s width properly.  One rumor even stated that the Historical District was going to be completely ruined and that no one would work with them or take the necessary actions to preserve their heritage.  A few phone calls to the people in charge was all that was needed to quickly dispel these rumors. 

Paul Davis, Director of Public Services for Rochester Hills, reported that this project is not a City project, but rather is a project completely conducted by The Road Commission for Oakland County.  Davis went on to say that The Road Commission has tried to coordinate all of their efforts with the City and with the Historical District Commission.  When early concerns were raised as to how wide the new bridge would be and what it would look like on the exterior, the Road Commission went out of their way to show three or four options to the Historical District Commission and ultimately received their approval of the final design.  According to Craig Bryson, Public Information Officer for the Road Commission, “We met with a variety of groups from the City in order to make everyone happy, and I believe that ultimately we did.”  Bryson went on to say that they had procured antique hand railings from the State and sand blasted and reworked them so they could be used on the new bridge.  The Road Commission also incorporated a two-guard-rail sidewalk across the bridge to keep pedestrians safer in the future.  A small island was created at the west end of the bridge and two stamped concrete sidewalk connectors were poured for added appeal.  Bryson stated, “With multiple schools just across the bridge we knew there would be many children walking or riding bikes over the new bridge and we wanted to keep them safe.” 

When questioned about the project’s delay, Bryson commented that core soil samples taken at the beginning of the project indicated that the ground around the bank of the river was more secure than what it was in reality.  After the contractor began excavating, they found that more reinforcements were needed to make the surrounding area secure for the citizens and the workers on the bridge.  After all the dust had settled from the engineering changes and adjustments in the contractor’s schedule, this redesign cost them six weeks.  The Road Commission’s Website now states October 31, 2010 as the new open date, but many people remain hopeful that it may be even sooner.  

Pat McKay, Supervisor of Interpretive Services for Rochester Hills, works at the Van Hoosen Farm, the bridge’s adjoining property in the Historical District.  He stated, “We plan to work with the Women’s National Farm and Garden Association to change some of the grassy areas to  something that is aesthetically more pleasing.”  McKay said he would like to see the bridge become a gateway into the Stoney Creek Village and a beautiful addition to the Historical District.  He concluded, “It’s really been a great project between our local Historical District Commission, the Road Commission, and the City of Rochester Hills.  We think the residents are going to get a pretty nice product when this is all done.”

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at