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GR officials: Blue Bridge to close on weekend nights to discourage crowds, parties

The decision came after shots were fired among a crowd on the Blue Bridge over the weekend. Officials are hoping to discourage large crowds from gathering.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids will close on weekend nights beginning June 9.

The bridge will be closed from midnight until 6 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until further notice.

This comes after shots were fired among a crowd on the bridge over the weekend. Police say no one was hurt in this incident, but a vehicle was damaged.

Cyral Evan Moerschbacher walks through the Blue Bridge, often on weekend nights. He witnessed the large party on the bridge Saturday overnight into Sunday.

"Last weekend, it was hundreds. Genuinely, I've never seen anything like it before. There was hordes of people," said Moerschbacher. "Definitely a party vibe and people drinking and smoking here. Whatever they wanted to do."

“We want to set the expectation early on this summer that the Blue Bridge is not a place for large crowds to gather in the overnight hours,” Chief Eric Winstrom said. “This is a proactive step we are taking as GRPD, DGRI, the City and other stakeholders work together to provide a safe and welcoming environment for residents and visitors.”

The investigation into the Sunday shots fired incident is still ongoing.

“We are reviewing video footage from multiple sources,” said Winstrom. “And while we are not ready to seek charges for the person who fired the shots that hit the vehicle, six arrests have been made in conjunction with large gatherings on the bridge over the weekend. We are focused on taking both enforcement action and preventative action to keep our community safe.”

Some of the individuals were arrested for outstanding warrants and others for carrying a firearm illegally.

In September 2022, four people were injured after a shooting during an impromptu, illegal party on the Blue Bridge. During ArtPrize 2022, the bridge was closed on weekend nights to protect the artwork and discourage crowds from gathering. 

Since this shooting, the city added metal pole barriers to prevent vehicles from entering the bridge. They also added multiple surveillance cameras to capture any illegal activity. 

"Anything that can improve the efficiency and ensuring it's safe here for sure. I think it's very important," said Moerschbacher.

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